New young SUN group launches in Leeds

Young service users are invited to have their say on mental health care planning.

Young service user, Lyla Asif, is spearheading efforts to get a young SUN (Service User Network) set up in Leeds to give people under 25 who have accessed secondary mental health services or are young carers a direct voice in mental health care planning.

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) has a well-established Service User Network (SUN) to bring people together to give feedback on services and their views on service developments. Meetings often feature a guest speaker and are an important social touch point for anyone with mental ill health.

Young SUN held its first meeting in Leeds on Wednesday 11 July. Chris Lake from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust attended to ask for opinions about the new, purpose built, specialist community child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) unit planned for Leeds. The unit – which will be built on the St Mary’s Hospital site – will have 18 specialist places and four psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) beds to support young people with complex mental illness such as severe personality and eating disorders.

Lyla said: “Although I have mental ill health associated with my cerebral palsy, I’m really active in the community and I think young people should have their voices heard. I want to see a young SUN group develop so that younger people can share their experiences of mental health services – good and bad – and have a real input into planning the services that will support them in future.

“I hope there’ll be lots of interest. What’s not to like – a chance to have your say and an opportunity to get out and meet people like yourself in a safe space. Your opinion matters – come on!”

Bev Thornton, LYPFT’s Patient Experience and Involvement Co-ordinator, who will be supporting Lyla with the young SUN events, said: “This is great and we’re thrilled that Lyla is taking a lead on trying to get a young SUN meeting running. We really need to hear what young people have to say but it’s often difficult to engage them in the way the NHS works.”

Read more about the Trust’s Service User Network.