Healthwatch 2021 – Report by Dr. Hamish Greig
Healthwatch is a collaboration between Brechin Healthcare Group and Brechin High School with the aim of raising the profile of health and wellbeing within the school and community especially with respect to student health.
2017 Healthwatch started by looking at access to primary care from the perspective of the High School student. The survey of the senior school should only a few people had had the necessity to contact the health centre. Of those there were a significant number who had issues with the phone system and then the necessity at the time of sitting to wait for an appointment.
Dummy patient/ increased use groups / the elderly and mothers & toddlers’ group/ the families who have English as a 2nd language.
2018 Students aware that their peers with mental health issues were likely to have more issues with access to services both Primary care and CAMHs who had withdrawn their nurse led counselling from Angus.
Survey of the school students for the prevalence of mental health issues (self-identification) 20%
What about the staff? 25%
Rural Parliament 2018 Stranraer Healthwatch won the Rural Innovators Youth Award for this work.
2019 Talk to Tayside Emotional Wellbeing Conference in Abertay University August 2019 done by the students to an audience of adults including CAMH professionals
Pandemic Covid 19 has meant there have been no visitors to the High School until recently, but the school and students have not been idle. The identification of such a high prevalence of MH issues and the perceived difficulty accessing services meant that the students felt the urgent need to do something to help.
Brechin High School now has 16 MH first aiders – 12 S4/5 students and 4 S6 students
Fully trained and supported.
Alongside this work the Healthwatch arm of the High School has taken forward the BHG proposal for work experience and training in Rural studies and horticulture. 24 students now have a day a week at Wandershiel farm doing rural studies with enthusiasm. Course is oversubscribed
Whilst we in the BHG have been unable to move forward from the Talk to Action the students at the High School have moved from Blah Blah Blah! to real transformative action.