The Youth Select Committee is a British Youth Council initiative, supported by the House of Commons. The eleven committee members are aged 13-18 and include two Members of the UK Youth Parliament (MYPs), two youth councillors, a Young Mayor, one elected representative from each of the devolved nations and three reserved seats.
Chair of the Youth Select Committee Rhys Hart said: "With over 140 pieces of submitted evidence from young patients to paediatricians and politicians, we now have a real variety of detailed and valuable evidence, and we are extremely thankful to all those who submitted.
"Our first oral evidence will give us the opportunity to hear from a wide range of people from up and down the country. Mental health is a sensitive but significantly important issue to young people with over 90,500 voting for it in the 'Make your Mark' campaign last year. I am eager to begin the oral evidence stages and I'm looking forward to what the panellist have to say."
Mental health was voted as the priority campaign of the UK Youth Parliament, following their Make Your Mark ballot (90,549 young people voted for it) and their annual House of Commons debate in November 2014. Shortly after the committee called on the public to submit evidence and received over a hundred responses.
During the Youth Select Committee's oral evidence session they will hear from interested parties who submitted evidence including national bodies like the Royal College of Psychiatrists, schools and young people from various parts of the country. The Youth Select Committee mirrors the UK Parliament Select Committee structure and gives young people the opportunity to scrutinise and hold enquiries into topics of importance to them. The Youth Select Committee has received induction training and mentoring from Parliamentary Clerks and British Youth Council staff.
For the first time the committee are also asking members of the public to get in touch via social media and share their thoughts on questions such as:
• How can we to prevent stigma and discrimination towards young people with mental health issues?
• Do you feel informed about the mental health services available to you?
• Is education on mental health in schools sufficient? Should it be a compulsory part of the National Curriculum?
Anyone with ideas to share or questions they would like the committee to put to their witnesses is invited to share them on Twitter using #youthselect. Tweets will be included in the brief for the committee and may be included in the final report which will be presented to the government in autumn.