Who would’ve thought I would ever have been able to do this? The Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) has had such a massive impact on me as a person, particularly my confidence and belief in myself. When I first started the group in Year 11, I was way too anxious to even stand in front of people, let alone express my views. I would be the person hiding in the corner hoping no one would pick me to answer any questions. Throughout the years of being in YPAG this has really changed.
YPAG has given me the chance to meet loads of amazing, kind, and friendly people – Eve is one of those lovely people. Eve has a podcast (available on Spotify) called ‘How are you? (Really)’ where she discusses mental health issues and speaks to a variety of guests about their experiences, her experiences or sometimes she just has a chat.
I started listening to Eve’s podcasts and found them informative, interesting and easy to listen to. I told her how much I was enjoying them, and she invited me to record a podcast on my experience of being a student at the end of my first year of mental health nursing. I was in two mindsets – my thoughts were divided between:
1. ‘I want to record this and want to help break any stereotypes around mental health and share how amazing I find nursing’.
2. ‘This is terrifying, what if I say the wrong thing or if people think my answers are weird’. I decided to step put my comfort zone and take the plunge!
Eve was so calm and understanding when we recorded the podcast, she made me feel at ease and by the end I felt relaxed and wasn’t even aware I was being recorded. It was a great experience which I now feel I could do again. This confirmed to me again, that the anticipation of doing something is often way worse than the reality.
I was also recently given the opportunity to write a blog on co-production and have had this published in a monthly newsletter for the Co-Production Collective. I have never thought of myself as any good at writing or as someone who could write blogs, but I thought I would give it a go. I surprised myself that I really enjoyed expressing my opinion through writing. I had lots of encouragement and support from the teams when writing it.
Don’t let a lack of confidence be the barrier stopping you joining YPAG. It could be the best thing you have ever done!
Listen to my first podcast here.
Read my blog for the Co-production Collective here: