Get involved

What is participation?

Participation is about creating opportunities for you to speak and work with staff members at CAMHS to improve mental health services for all young people in Sussex. It’s about recognising your unique expertise as young people experiencing mental health challenges who know what it is like to access this kind of support.

You can be actively involved in influencing how things are done and presented across the service at various levels, from the work that takes place in a therapy session through to how the whole service is managed. You can do this in person, through email, phone, this website or creatively through art, photography, music or writing.

You can be currently accessing CAMHS or have accessed our service in the past. You can take part in small, medium or large parts of participation – nothing is mandatory, you won’t be told what to do and it’s all about what you feel comfortable doing.

We can also work with feedback that needs to be kept anonymous to protect your confidentiality.

Want to contribute your creativity to this website?

We welcome your poems, stories, artwork, films, self-help tips and anything else you can think of to this website. To submit your material, email

When emailing your work to us, please complete a consent form, to let us know how you are happy for us to use your contribution – download consent form.

Please note. if you send a consent form by email from iCloud, Gmail, Hotmail, Live, Yahoo or other private email accounts to it is not secure. If you would prefer to send a form by post, email for the most appropriate postal address.

We are unfortunately unable to return anything that is submitted to us so please only send copies or items you are happy for us to keep. It may take a week to see your contribution appear on the site and your contribution will remain on the site for at least one month.

Your views and ideas really do count!

How can I get involved?

You can contact your Participation Manager (East Sussex: Rivkah, West Sussex: Larissa). Your input is invaluable, is part of the participation strategy for the Trust and is a human right based in law. There are a lots of other ways to get involved, including:

  1. Expert by Experience training – a free training day to learn new skills, including interviewing and assertiveness skills to equip you to take part in various activities across the service.
  2. Recruiting new members of staff – working with the management team to interview new recruits to the Trust. This is supported by your Participation Manager.
  3. Being a member of our Young Person’s Clinical Academic Group (CYPCAG) – working with other young people to review and edit NHS documents and policies to make sure that they are young-person friendly. Also share ideas for how to support young people with their mental health.
  4. Become a Governor on the Trust Board – represent the views of young people who access Sussex Partnership services, get your views heard and help to shape the services we can offer.
  5. Respond to questions asked by your Participation Manager who will contact you by email or phone. The answers will inform decisions made by managers and teams.
  6. Attend monthly groups with other young people held locally in East and West Sussex to offer your views, concerns, complaints and feedback.
  7. Attend specialist focus groups which could help create a new information leaflet for a particular bit of the service or creating a film used to help train staff.
  8. Attend team member training days to give them a view of your own experience. This really helps our teams understand your perspective and use it within their practice.
  9. Post your views into our local waiting area suggestion boxes. You don’t have to give your name and can be kept anonymous if you want.
  10. Input your views and preferences in NHS materials such as website entries, posters, letters and leaflets.

What activities and groups are there for me to join?

Many of our activities and groups are local so check your local CAMHS waiting areas for information, on this page or contact your local Participation Manager.

How has young people’s feedback helped develop or improve services?

Some of the things you’ve helped to change or improve already:

  • The recruitment process – by asking relevant questions in interviews that you’ve created, and by being an active part of the decision-making process, means that we’re employing people you feel are young person focused and friendly.
  • Writing paragraphs in NHS clinical materials to help other young people understand what’s going on for them when they seek our help. You may have seen the ‘Getting to Know you booklet’ used at initial appointments.
  • Choosing appropriate language, images and text within NHS posters, information leaflets and waiting room materials.
  • Staff photo boards were put up following suggestion-box comments, and in many locations young people have created art work for the waiting areas and clinic rooms.
  • Choosing activities to keep you occupied in waiting areas – we’ve allocated budget to purchasing these things.
  • Letting us know when we’ve got things wrong – we take these views to our management meetings for discussion and action.
  • Coming up with ideas and questions when we ask for support
  • You’ve helped to create media such as podcasts and films for young people, parents, carers, staff and even school teachers.

And many more…

Participation groups in West Sussex

You can complete one of our Participation Cards available in all West Sussex CAMHS waiting areas or email

We will then contact you to let you know about participation opportunities as they come up.

You can also find out about the latest participation opportunities on our padlet.

Participation groups in East Sussex

  • Download participation Group – held monthly at Archery Youth Centre, Eastbourne from 4.15 – 6.15pm, usually on the last Wednesday of the month. Please get in touch with Rivkah if you would like to join so that she can send you a registration form.
  • East Sussex CAMHS run a range of courses that are free to attend under Discovery College – activities range from music groups, woodland days, creative writing sessions, film projects and shows. Get in touch with Rivkah or view the latest prospectus here. Each course is planned, written and delivered in partnership with young people who train to be peer mentors or trainers. If you are interested in either of these roles please email

You can also find out about the latest participation opportunities on our padlet.

If I became a Governor, what is involved?

As a Governor you will be able to:

  • Ensure that there is robust challenge about the strategic direction of the Trust and how it is performing (how well they are supporting the people and communities they provide services for)
  • Share with the Board and Council of Governors the views of the local people you represent (children, young people, families and carers in your area)
  • Actively seek out and share what you think about the services provided by Sussex Partnership

Become a member of Sussex Partnership

Do you want to be able to share your ideas and help make a difference to mental health services in your area? Sign up to become a member of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust!

If something isn’t working, or there are things we could be doing better, we want you to tell us about it!

Membership is free to join and is open to anyone age 14+ who is using/has previously used mental health services in Sussex or Hampshire.

Read more.

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