Report published on youth survey findings discussing mental health support, substance mis-use and youth offending

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has published a report that has been prepared in collaboration with his Youth Forum, that analyses findings from their recent youth consultation titled Y Sgwrs.

Y Sgwrs (a Welsh title meaning ‘The Conversation’) asked young people living in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Powys and Pembrokeshire for their views and experiences of mental health support for young victims of crime, substance mis-use and youth offending. The consultation asked teenagers and young adults to explain what works, what doesn’t and how things might be improved.

The consultation included an online survey, focus groups held locally by Youth Forum members, and feedback from young people who were at the recent Urdd National Eisteddfod in Llandovery.

The report was shared with organisations and individuals who work with young people at a Youth Conference held by the Youth Forum and Police and Crime Commissioner, in Llanelli Carmarthenshire on 5th of July, with the report now been made available to the wider public.

Individuals responding to the survey and the focus groups all discussed the role of school and colleges and considered whether they could do more to provide better access to career and training opportunities. Those that took part noted that more could be done to cater to wider opportunities. Many also commented on improving access to learning more life skills and a wider choice of work experience and careers advice.

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn’s office worked with Youth forum members to design a series of recommendations for both the Police and partner organisation to consider. They include;

Recommendation 1: Dyfed-Powys Police and the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) should increase social media posts to raise awareness of mental health and mental health support in the area. The police should share these items through social media and try to target a far-reaching audience.

Recommendation 2: Partners should raise awareness of their services and inform children and younger people of mental health services in the local area, how people can access support, and provide detailed information on the process of accessing the service.

Recommendation 3: Dyfed-Powys Police and its partners should work to improve its data sharing between agencies and organisations to ensure a child-centred approach.

Recommendation 4: Dyfed-Powys Police and its partners should aim to raise awareness of substance misuse services available for children and young people in the Force area.

Recommendation 5: Schools Police Officers should consider including information on, and visual aids of, long term effects of drug use when engaging with schools around substance misuse.

Recommendation 6: Schools Police Officers should consider working with the local health boards to create training for teaching staff within schools on substance misuse and the support available.

Recommendation 7: Dyfed-Powys Police should increase a positive relationship with children and young people by, for example, creating engagement events or open days, inviting children and young people to get to know the service. The Force should also consider sharing positive work in engaging with children and young people via social media for a wider reach.

Recommendation 8: Dyfed-Powys Police to raise awareness of the likely outcomes of low-level offences in children and young people so that they understand the consequences.

Recommendation 9: In response to this report and its recommendations, the Police and Crime Commissioner should support youth organisations and charities with funding requests. The Police & Crime Commissioner can offer funding directly in support of the delivery of Police and Crime Plan priorities.
Responding to the recommendations while also looking back at the discussions that took place at the Youth Conference, PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the incredible partners and young people who joined us at our Youth Conference last week. Together, we took a powerful step towards addressing crucial topics that impact our youth.

“The conference focused on the Y Sgwrs consultation that the Youth Forum has been working on over the last year with my Office, which focused on three key areas: mental health support, substance misuse, and youth offending.

“By working together with young people and local partners, we can explore innovative solutions and create a platform for open dialogue, ensuring the voices of young people are heard.
“I would like to thank every single young person who has taken part in this consultation. Your insights, ideas, and experiences will shape the future of our community, and we are grateful for your valuable contributions.

“I will now aim to work closely with the Force and key partners to respond accordingly to the recommendations highlighted in the report, so that we can break barriers, and support one another in creating a safer and healthier environment for our youth. Together, we can make a real difference!”

Kai Collins, one of the Dyfed-Powys Youth Forum members said; “Our report called Y Sgwrs, pulls together all of our findings from the survey. We want the Police and supporting services to read our report and consider its findings and recommendations in their current and future work.

“I have been a member of the Youth Forum since 2019, and throughout my time as an ambassador, I have felt a sense of belonging and change. I feel that our Youth Forum has had a great impact on the local areas and reach many people and shown them that the Police are not as scary as they are often made out to be. I feel that all the work we have done has helped educate so many young people and allowed them to express their views and opinions on what needs to be done”.

The Y Sgwrs Youth Consultation report can be download from the Dyfed-Powys Office of Police and Crime Commissioner’s website here.

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