Published on: 24 May 2023

A Derbyshire Healthcare mental health and expert by experience worker has shared their knowledge for a book on the challenges surrounding children and young people’s participation in shaping mental health services, which is being published by an international publisher.Leanne's book.jpeg 

Leanne Walker, along with Hannah Sharp, have come together to offer their insights into how participation should be led by co-editing ‘Participation in Children and Young People’s Mental Health: An Essential Guide’, published by Routledge.

The book is a ground-breaking text supported by contributors from leading experts, including a mixture of lived experience and academic perspectives to explore topics from how to conceptualise participation to more practical advice and guidance on how to do participation.  

Leanne said: “In 2009 I first accessed the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) when I was just 15 and at 18 started attending a participation group, a partnership between people working in, and young people accessing, the service with the goal of wanting to improve the service. It was this session which ignited my passion in the field.

“Before this book, I could only signpost people to a chapter or article on participation, never one central resource,” said Leanne.

Leanne author.jpegHaving overcome social anxiety, Leanne has had an impressive full circle career and has since taken part in some fantastic projects such as hosting a CAMHS event with Derby County stars Roy McFarland and Roger Davies to raise funds and awareness of World Mental Health Day.

Leanne has also given a presentation to a mental health conference in Manchester about how it felt to have access to a mental health service, and was later offered a position to work with Great Involvement Future Thinking (GIFT – a partnership between young people and mental health professions), formerly commissioned by NHS England, to advise on how to shape services on a national scale.

“If it wasn’t for the support of CAMHS I would not be doing the job I am in now, nor would I be able to go about my daily life the same. I owe a lot to the people who make up these services for changing my life and opening so many doors for me.”

Leanne has also been invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in honour of Leanne’s ongoing commitment and contributions to the sector.

Mark Powell, Chief Executive at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’ve been blown away by the effort that has gone into making this book and look forward to its launch.

“Leanne continues to be an exceptional Derbyshire Healthcare colleague who is constantly looking for new ways to support children and young people experiencing mental health problems. 

“It is exciting that Leanne’s hard work and dedication to this field of work is not going unnoticed. On behalf of Derbyshire Healthcare, I would like to thank Leanne for sharing experiences and knowledge that will help increase young people’s participation in NHS services.”

The book will be available to pre-order from 22 May 2023 on Routledge’s website.