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Parent Champions empowered to raise mental health awareness

Myrvete Gashi, our Parent Participation Officer, shares some thoughts on what it means to be a Parent Champion. 

It was wonderful to hear one of our Parent Champions saying how she now feels confident sharing her story in front of a large audience. Something she never thought she could do before. She felt empowered by being in a position to raise awareness around mental health and give hope to those who feel hopeless. Real stories like this offer courage to those who might feel trapped because of the situation they might be in. They also remind us how we can use difficult times in our lives to grow stronger as individuals and how that can be used to help others.

As the Parent Participation Officer at Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, I am delighted to work with our wonderful Parent Champions who give their time and expertise ensuring parents and young people are at the heart of all we do. They are involved in the recruitment process, research, parent panels and much more. It feels great working alongside such passionate individuals who are always willing to use their experience to influence policies around mental health and empower those who might find themselves in a vulnerable position.

Parents who have been involved in the recruitment process very often talk about how experiences like these equip them with the tools and ideas of how to conduct themselves when applying for jobs in the future.

Our Parent Champions are offered opportunities to access different training, events and workshops externally and within the Centre, which means they create positive relationships with other members of staff and they learn from one another.

Being a parent myself, combined with years of experience working within the voluntary and statutory sectors has helped me develop professionally as well as develop empathy and grow as a person. Working in an organisation such as the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has helped me develop better understanding of mental health and how we can better improve the lives of those affected by mental health.  

We are looking for fathers, mothers and carers with experience in caring for someone with mental health difficulties who would like to share their ideas and experiences to help us improve the journey for young people and their families managing mental health.

If you are passionate to make a change and would like to use your experience and expertise to make a difference we would love to hear from you, so please feel free to learn more about becoming a Parent Champion or email