Students at a school in Wotton-under-Edge have formed a valuable partnership with a GP surgery team in the town linking up health and education to provide insights into young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Year 12 students at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School in Wotton-under-Edge stepped up to form a Youth Patient Participation Group (YPPG) at Chipping Surgery after they were approached to come on board with the existing Patient Participation group (PPG) to ensure the voices of young people are heard.

A PPG links together patients, carers and GP practice staff who meet to discuss practice issues and patient experience to help improve services.

Lorraine Hollingworth, Practice Manager at Chipping Surgery explained:

“We reached out to the school asking if young people wanted to be involved with the PPG, thinking it might appeal to students who wanted to study medicine.

“We weren’t expecting responses so we were very surprised and pleased when we ended up with three young people coming to a PPG meeting.”

The YPPG, made up of a group of Year 12 students, looked at the impact of social media on young people’s awareness and understanding of mental health issues. The group produced a report that included survey responses from 48 peers in their year group, revealing that 38% would use social media to read about mental health support.

Other findings from the report included that:

  • 68% of responders felt they were unaware of the full range of support available to them for mental health
  • 41% felt they would be unlikely to talk to their GP if they had a mental health concern

Key themes also emerged such as the use of social media to self-diagnose mental health concerns, access to trusted information and ongoing stigma around mental health.

Young people were quick to make helpful suggestions including:

  • Make accessing help anonymous
  • Running talks or open days in schools about the range of local support available
  • Using social media more effectively to spread awareness
  • Educating adults/parents on how to have compassionate discussions with young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties

Beth Gibbons Programme Manager, Children’s Mental Health & Maternity at NHS Gloucestershire said:

“We are pleased to take these findings forward to inform service improvements and look forward to working with the YPPG to mobilise some of the recommendations they have made.

“We’re really grateful for their hard work and commitment to their research report and the school and surgery coming together is a great example of joint working between education and health.”

Lorraine added:

“We do feel it’s ground-breaking as it’s something for young people, by young people and we want to keep the dialogue going.

“This generation is less likely to read leaflets so we need to look at other ways to engage and get the message out.”

Noah Sharman, a student involved with the project said:

“It is really valuable to be able to have a voice in terms of young people’s mental health rather than having things imposed by others.

“It is really worrying that people of our age seek support from sources that are neither correct nor reliable and I really hope that the work we have done will help people of our age seek support from those qualified and equipped to support them.

“It’s really exciting to see things beginning to happen,” added Noah.


On Your Mind Glos is a mental health support finder. You can access it via or 07984 404388. Answers are anonymous and confidential.