Nicola

Nicola

Why did you join as Parent Champion?

Following a turbulent childhood, I wanted to show people that all is not lost if you face mental health issues in your life.  Mental health affects so many of us and it is so important that we all share our knowledge, experiences and support. I want to let people know that it is perfectly normal to face mental health problems in your life and that you do not need to suffer. Your future is ahead of you and you can drive it in any direction that you like!

What are you most looking forward to as a champion?

I am really looking forward to helping The Anna Freud Centre make a difference in the lives of others. Even if I can just make that one person make changes in their life or feel better about their future; we are all human and we all deserve to be happy and I would really like to be a person that helps with that. 

What do you hope to achieve as a Parent Champion?

I hope to share my experiences and help people understand that there is a brighter future ahead and that they are not alone or abnormal.  It is part of human nature to face these issues and I hope to help people to make their lives better. 

What is your background?

I wanted to study law but unfortunately, I struggled at university to afford it so I joined the Civil Service and trained there.  I eventually worked for a Big 4 Accountancy Firm before being lucky enough to give up work when my second child was born. 

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I used to literally do a Madonna when I was younger, and ‘lock the bedroom door and dance when no-one else could see’.  I secretly wanted to be a dancer. Not even my husband knows about this although when I am cooking dinner and dancing along to the music, he does say I have good moves!

Sarah

Sarah

Why did you join as Parent Champion?

As a birth and adoptive mother, I have become acutely aware of the difficulty many families face trying to obtain appropriate therapy and support both for their adopted, fostered or kinship child/children and the whole family; essential for best possible outcomes. Massive problems frequently follow without this help and understanding.

What are you most looking forward to as a champion and what do you hope to achieve?

I'm looking forward to developing new skills, to representing the Centre at events and conferences, bringing many ideas for areas of need and, more broadly, to all the help and support possible in my bid to improve outcomes for complex and developmental trauma!

What is your background?

The possibility to join the Centre as a Parent Champion was most welcome. I am already involved in a project where I hope to make a difference by sharing my experience with professionals so as to improve how existing services are delivered.

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I used to run my own catering company, exhausting yet great fun!

Funmi

Funmi

Why did you join as a Parent Champion? 

I appreciate the service being provided by the AFNCCF as a charitable organisation for families from all walks of life. Due to the pleasant experience I had during the use of the play therapy service for my son, I am pleased to be able to support the AFNCCF as a Parent Champion.

What has been the best activity you have participated in so far?

I have really enjoyed participating in the meetings held with all departments across the Centre for the design of the new Centre of Excellence in Kings Cross, which will be the new home of the Centre from May 2019.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Champion?

As a Parent Champion, I am looking forward to taking part in designing and implementing new tools and accessible resources for young people to use in daily life, to positively aid their mental health and wellbeing.

What do you hope to achieve in your time as a Champion?

I hope to have successfully made a positive difference to the tools and services available to young people, through my contributions on the Research Panels and Committees I am invited to join at the AFNCCF.

What's one key thing you have learnt being a Parent Champion?

One key thing I have learnt being a Parent Champion, is that there is a positive role that can be played by Participation of both parents and young people, in major organisations that cater to the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents.

What are your future ambitions?

I would like to continue to support the AFNCCF (my chosen charity), in its research and fund-raising efforts.

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I enjoy swimming and meditating and often combine the two.

What advice would you give anyone considering being a Champion?

Becoming a Parent or Young Champion will afford you a wonderful opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of children and adolescents, as the Centre is geared towards finding much needed positive solutions that can be implemented efficiently and successfully, across the country.

Ellie

Ellie

Why did you join as a Parent Champion? 

I have worked with children and families experiencing mental health issues in a school setting, however, when I became a parent I found the struggles of daily life sometimes overwhelming and isolating. I thean read a tweet that AFNCCF were recruiting for Parent Champions and I wanted to get involved in some of the great projects that were happening. I also wanted to support and signpost others to the innovative work done around mental health.

What has been the best activity you have participated in so far?

There are a number of projects that I have put myself forward for and I want to embrace every leanring opportunity that comes my way!

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Champion?

I am looking forward to the learning experience and being open to new ideas, also meeting lots of people.

What do you hope to achieve in your time as a Champion?

My hope is to keep the discussion about mental health alive and present. We all ahve mental health and sharing our narrative in everyday conversation will help make it easier for everyone to shre their emotional journey.

What are your future ambitions?

My aim is to learn and gain more experience within AFNCCF. My desire is to assist children, young people and adults creatively and to facilitate an everyday emotional vocabulary where it is ok to talk about how they are feeling and not feel that there is any stigma attached.

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I have twins - a boy and a girl.

What advice would you give anyone considering being a Champion?

Amazing opportunities, accommodating and very welcoming - GO FOR IT, GIVE IT A TRY!

 

Natalia

Natalia

I am a mother of two. I was plunged into the world of child mental ill-health quite suddenly several years ago. I have experienced the brutal desperation of having a child with mental health issues and have dealt with professionals within CAHMS, social services, the private sector, schools, GPs and A&E.

I learnt to become the advocate that my children needed me to be in order to get help for their emotional and physiological needs. I have seen the inherent failings of our society in caring for our children and young people, witnessed with the impact of these failings and have also seen some excellent practice & talented practitioners dotted within each of the above-mentioned agencies.

We - as a country and society - are failing our children and young people in the area of mental health. Things are in desperate need for change and improvement. Our society needs to create an adequate safety net, made up of families, schools, medical, social and research entities, to better serve our children, which in turn will strengthen their families both now and in the future and, thus, our society. This is my motivation for becoming a mental health advocate and working as a Parent Champion within the AFNCCF.

We all need to be part of the change.

Alessandra

Alessandra

Why did you join as a Parent Champion? 

I wanted to take an active role to increase awareness around perinatal mental health.

What has been the best activity you have participated in so far?

I enjoyed helping a team of researchers developing a new app for people in need of support when structuring their day-to-day tasks.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Parent Champion?

I want to make a positive contribution to the wellness and wellbeing of families and children.

What's one key thing you have learnt being a Parent Champion?

I have learnt that we all have much more in common that we think and especially parents are capable of so much resourcefulness and resilience. 

What advice would you give other parents/carers considering becoming a Parent Champion?

It’s a rewarding and empowering experience where you can get more than you expected. 

Pauline

Pauline

Why did you join as a Parent Champion? 

I joined as a Parent Champion mainly because I had such a powerful life changing experience with my time both on the Parent Infant Project and the Toddler Group, but also because I have suffered with mental health my entire life and through my own recovery journey have become very interested in child development and the huge difference mental health awareness as a mother makes to a child’s life.

What has been the best activity you have participated in so far?

My most favourite activity would have been the Filming on Treatment Endings. I enjoyed this so much as I it gave me the opportunity to express the impact the Centre had in my life. I also felt a sense of participation; it felt like my experience and feedback would really benefit the services I was lucky enough to be included in and that gave me a sense of worth and encouragement.

What are your future ambitions?

My ambition is to find a career in Mental Health. I am particularly interested in Child Development.

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I love dogs and babies, and always go out of my way to say  "hi" when it’s appropriate.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Parent Champion?

I am most looking forward to committing myself to a project that I can do around my family life; I have had time where I haven’t been able to participate due to work and family commitments, but the AF Participation team have been very understanding and patient with me.

I hope to achieve a sense of Participation, a sense of making a difference even if it’s just a small difference. I also hope to achieve a greater understanding of the vast work the Centre is involved in.

What's one key thing you have learnt being a Parent Champion?

The one key thing I have learnt is that I don’t have to be a perfect to be a Parent Champion. I have at times worried about not being good enough, not producing the best blog or not being able to volunteer for certain projects, what actually in reality what happens is that after I have submitted, or participated in any activity, I always am left feeling a sense of achievement and a greater sense of self-esteem.

What advice would you give other parents/carers considering becoming a Parent Champion?

My advice to anyone thinking of becoming a Parent Champion would be: be honest with yourself and the Centre with your availability and don’t be scared to give things a try.

Tatyana

Tatyana

Why did you join as a Parent Champion? 

I was lucky enough to benefit from one of the services offered at the Centre. At the end of my interactions with the Centre, I was approached by a staff member to see whether I was interested in becoming a Parent Champion. I had a been thinking for a while about volunteering so this came as the perfect opportunity.

What has been the best activity you have participated in so far? 

I have helped in participating in statutory quality reviews, provided feedback on policies, shared my views from a parent perspective on particular topics and helped form new projects. The latter two are definitely more up my street.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Champion?

All of the above as well as learning more about mental health and how things work in this field.

What do you hope to achieve in your time as a Champion?

Contribute in a meaningful way and learn about things I’m not familiar with.

What's one key thing you have learnt being a Parent Champion?

That other parents and children do face immense struggles.

What are your future ambitions?

I’m about to turn 40 so this is a time of introspection and taking stock on the last 20 years. I am happy working in healthcare but perhaps one day I will move into mental health.

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I’m one of the rare French people leaving in London who was born in Yorkshire.

What advice would you give other parents/carers  considering becoming a Parent Champion?

Most activities take place during day time. Make sure that you can give the time that is required to participate. One’s personal experience is crucial in ensuring the conversation remains rich, but it can also become a barrier to hearing other views. 

Jessica

Jessica

When did you start your Championing at AFNCCF?

I started when Anna Freud Centre was moving to the new building by helping with a video they were making. I officially came on board in summer.

Why did you join as a Parent Champion at AFNCCF?

Anna Freud centre helped me enormously after the difficult arrival of my twin boys in 2017. It became somewhat of a lifeline to me each week, and I want to help others have access to the services and continue to support the work that Anna Freud Centre.

What has been the most your favourite activity you have participated in?

I was privileged to speak to groups of researchers, academics and psychologists regarding my experience, how that had helped me and the role Anna Freud Centre can play in that area. Although daunting I felt it was so beneficial to everyone

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Champion?

I think I will enjoy thinking about early years provision and access to families. Being involved with Anna Freud Centre when my children were so young has really emphasised to me how important these years

What do you hope to achieve in your time as a Champion?

I hope to support the Centre with their projects and ambitions while providing honest feedback from a parent perspective.

What are your future ambitions?

To be a supportive parent to my children and provide them with a happy and nurturing

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I design spacecraft as my normal job.

What advice would you give other parents/carers considering becoming a Parent Champion?

Look at what you value in your parenting and those around you and be positive about helping families with a wide range of experiences.

Naomi

Naomi

When did you start your Championing at AFNCCF?

I became a Parent Champion at AFNCCF in 2019.

Why did you join as a Parent Champion at AFNCCF? 

I joined because I’ve known about the AFNCCF’s work for years and have been intrigued by the way the Centre combines research and therapy. Supporting the mental health of children and their parents is important and it makes sense to me to do this in tandem with evaluating which treatments and approaches are most effective. I thought becoming a Parent Champion would be a good way to find out more about the work the Centre does and to support it where I can.

What has been the most your favourite activity you have participated in?

I particularly like talking to the Centre’s scientists and therapists about research projects that they are running.  The Centre also organises training for Champions which has been supportive and thought provoking.

What do you hope to achieve in your time as a Champion?

I’m looking forward to learning from my fellow Parent Champions and I hope, in whatever way I can, to support projects which will improve the mental wellbeing of children and their parents across the country.  

What would you say has been one key things you have learnt, being a Parent Champion?

It is a constant reminder that everyone has a different story and a different perspective: whatever we work on is stronger and better for reflecting those differences.

 

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I have synaesthesia which means that I see letters and numbers in colour. The letter A is red.

What advice would you give other parents/carers considering becoming a Parent Champion?

It’s a great role if you enjoy variety. You never know what the next project is going to be. It’s interesting and encouraging to see an organisation involving parents and young people within so many aspects of its work.

Vicky

Vicky

When did you start chamoioning at AFNCCF?

I have been a parent champion for approximately four years after receiving poor mental health care in my local area. I wanted to see a positive come out of our experiences and shape future provision. 

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I am a parent to three and work within the NHS. 

Can you give us a random fact about you?

As a teenager I was once in a guard of honour for the Queen but moved at the crucial moment.

Ruth

Ruth

When did you start your Championing at AFNCCF?

I started just over a year ago.

Why did you join as a Young Champion at AFNCCF? 

Mental health and wellness is so important and the Anna Freud Centre does really worthwhile and interesting work.

What has been the most your favourite activity you have participated in?

I have enjoyed hearing about the research projects and being given a chance to feedback.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Champion?

Helping the Anna Freud Centre in any way I can to improve child mental health.

What do you hope to achieve in your time as a Champion?

I hope to make a bit of a difference.

What would you say has been one key things you have learnt, being a Young Champion?

I’ve learnt more about the work of the Centre and what it’s doing.

What are your future ambitions?

To be a happy family.

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I once auditioned (and failed) to be a cheerleader.

What advice would you give other parents or carers considering becoming a Parent Champion?

To give it a go.

Rachel

Rachel

When did you start your Championing at AFNCCF?

I had my training in April 2020 and had my first Parent Panel meeting soon after.

Why did you join as a Parent Champion at AFNCCF? 

I know what it feels like to parent a child with mental health difficulties. I understand the impact on parents and family. I have lived with rejection from services and long waiting times. I did my own research into parenting children with problematic anxiety and I became passionate about giving parents a voice. There is a big gap between those who need professional help and those who are getting it - and parents are filling that gap, without the training they need to support their children. Parents are striving to do their best for their children under extremely tough circumstances, so I joined AFNCCF as a Parent Champion so that I can provide support as one parent to another.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a Champion?
Getting involved in speaking to other parents and providing insights into what it’s like to navigate life as a parent of a child with mental health challenges.

What do you hope to achieve in your time as a Champion?
I hope to help ease the minds of other parents, help them feel confident in themselves, give them a forum to open up about what matters to them and help make changes to the system which address the issues parents tell us that need addressing.

What are your future ambitions? 
I want to make a career working in the mental health sector supporting families

Can you give us a random fact about you?

I once challenged the Harlem Globe Trotters to a game of basketball by holding a sieve out of my bedroom window and asking them to throw a tangerine into the sieve :-)

What advice would you give other parents/carers  considering becoming a Parent Champion?

Being an expert from experience is a great way to make changes in something you feel passionate about, so go for it!

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