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Have your say

...to make your voice heard on the issues that matter to you

'Have your say' offers everyone the chance to get involved in a different topic each month and be part of making positive changes. This will help ensure that young people receive great sexual health and wellbeing services which will enable them to live healthy lives. Topics and content for each month have been developed by our Brook Champions, enabling young people to really make a difference on issues which matter to them.

We value the voices of young people, parents/carers and professionals working with young people, and know with their input we can further develop Brook, positively influence the wider sexual health and wellbeing sector, and raise the profile of important topics. 

Join the conversation #BrookHYS

Have your say this month

You're welcome

How can I have my say?

Have your say about making services welcome to young people by telling us about a memorable experience you’ve had when accessing a health service and/or why you think that services aimed at young people are so important!

You can tweet us, record a video, take part in our twitter polls or write a blogpost - just make sure that you tag us (@BrookCharity) and use the hashtag #HaveYourSay !

If you’ve used sexual health services recently, we’d love to hear about

  • What you thought was great about your experience
  • Things that you didn’t enjoy about the experience
  • Any ideas you have to make health services more young-people friendly
  • What is the main feature that stood out as making your experience a positive one: staff, location, etc.

If you haven’t used any sexual health services recently, we would like to hear:

  • Why you haven’t accessed these services
  • If there’s any worries you have about visiting sexual health clinics and information centres
  • What is the main reason you don’t access sexual health services: the staff, embarrassment, don’t feel like you need to, etc.

What kind of services do you prefer?

  • Sometimes services can offer screening packs that can be taken home to test for STIs, which means you don’t have to talk to a practitioner. Is this something you would prefer over having to book an appointment and see someone?
  • Would you like to see any integration with over services or other services offered within sexual health services for young people, such as mental health, healthy eating, and other health advice?
  • Does the gender or the professional matter to you? Would you like to see someone of the same gender or different gender?

Trans and intersex-specific experiences of sexual health services

  • How to make services more inclusive for trans and intersex people
  • Look at services offered to trans people as trans issues have moved from mental health to sexual health under new WHO guidelines

Background information:

“You’re Welcome” is a set of criteria used to ensure that health services for young people are of high quality. It helps healthcare providers improve accessibility, quality and safety. You can take a look at the new proposed guidelines here. These standards have been made simple for health settings to follow and achieve.

Why we need your say:

Research shows that even though young people are regular users of primary care, they are the least satisfied with their experiences.

By having your say and telling us how to improve your sexual health services, we can make sure that young people like you are seeking information in a way that works best for them including:

  • How to make healthcare visits easier, less stressful and more comfortable
  • How young people want to receive their care
  • What young people value when it comes to their sexual health
  • How information should be delivered to young people to best suit them: email, flyers, face-to-face education sessions etc.

How your voices will be used:

Brook is currently working with young people in Sandwell, near Birmingham, to identify how they would like to see the ‘You’re Welcome’ standards achieved in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Your say will be added to information gathered locally to help us to ensure that young people’s voices are heard in the process. Your say will also be used more generally by Brook to ensure that their services are as helpful to you as they can be.

What you have influenced so far

LGBT issues

We encouraged people to share their experiences of LGBT issues to help raise the awareness of the issues which are faced. This coincided with many areas holding Pride events. 

Read more through young people's blogs: Emma shares tips for what to do if your partner comes out as trans and Gareth blogs about realising they were bisexual

What we found out

Young people are not alone in their experiences.

How changes are being made:

Brook continues to support LGBT young people and provide training and education for adults and young people around this topic to help them lead happy and healthy lives.

HPV vaccinations for boys

We asked quesitons around people's experience and views and raised the awareness of HPV vaccinations for boys. Human papillomavirus virus (HPV), which some strains can be sexually transmitted, doesn’t just cause cervical cancer, but can also develop into genital warts or other cancers including of the penis or anus. At present in the UK only girls aged 12-13 are given the HPV vaccine. Young people’s voices have been left out of this conversation, and we believe that there should be equal access to the vaccine.

Read more through young people's blogs: Leah's story

What we found out:

From the people* who had their say we can share that...

Anything would have been useful - we were told nothing about it.

Vaccination is a preventative measure which can save lives and money, denying half of the population who can contract HPV only puts extra strain on Sexual Health services in future. Additionally ommiting boys from the vaccination program reinforces the myth around male sexual health and makes it less likely for boys to take their sexual health seriously in the future.

(*Number of responses per question varied from 24 to 66)

How changes are being made:

After our campaign the Department of Health and Social Care decided to extend the national HPV vaccination programme to boys. Read more here.

Mental Health

We ran a small survey and raised the awareness of mental health, and particularly stress, to support Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) and those starting their exams. Mental health is something that affects everyone.  At different times in their lives people of all ages can experience mental distress and possibly poor mental health. People may suffer from problems such as anxiety, depression or a range of other mental health problems. The more we understand and talk about mental health, the better we can support people who experience up and downs in life or other problems.

Read more through young people's blogs: Alex's story, Rachel's tips

What we found out:

From the people* who had their say we can share that...

Some exam tips included:

(*Number of responses per question varied from 38 to 57)

How changes are being made:

The results of the survey will be used to support the transformation of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Sandwell where we are collating the reviews of young people to ensure the services are suitable for young people. The results will be shared and explored further in the area to identify ways to overcome barriers for people benefiting from mental health support.

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)

We ran a small survey and raised the awareness of LARC as although they are the most reliable methods of contraception many young people are not made aware of them or even offered them when seeking contraception. We want to ensure that everyone is offered all methods of contraception, particularly LARC, in all settings including specialist sexual health clinics and GPs. Alongside this we want to ensure we are educating young people on all methods of contraception so they can choose the right method for them. To do this, we need to increase the awareness of LARC so young people make informed decisions about their own reproductive health.

What we found out:

From the people* who had their say we can report there is a mixed experience of LARC and contraception. Some people hadn't even heard of LARC before!

In addition around half the responses shared that when seeking emergency contraception they were not told about the IUD as an alternative to the emergency contraceptive (morning after pill).

(*Number of responses per question varied from 13 to 70)

How changes are being made: 

Coming soon!

Volunteering opportunities

We ran a survey to learn more about what motivates people to volunteer, and how they’d like to get involved.

What we found out: A short summary of what we found out includes:

  • Duration of roles: 6 months – 1 year
  • Frequency of volunteering: once per week or when needed
  • Location: mostly within Brook services with some remote opportunities
  • Main source of support: staff members

How changes are being made: We are now working with our Participation and Volunteering Lead Volunteers to develop our volunteer roles to ensure that our opportunities are exciting, and fit your criteria!