Brent Housing Partnership Youth Blog

Brought to you by the'Our Say' Magazine Team and BHP Youth Board


April 2016

Our Say Spring edition out now

Check out the latest edition of Our Say Youth Magazine with views and interviews by the BHP Youth Board.

Our Say – Spring 2016

Our Say - Spring 2016


Volunteering has changed my life!

Saqlain Kids Run Free

I am totally committed to the concept of volunteering! I am involved in various projects, for example I have been a volunteer since November 2015 at Kids Run Free, a charity which aims to promote an active, healthy and happy lifestyle for children. They provide trained volunteers, equipment and an event card to track your progress.

I can assure you that the experience and journey so far has been one hell of a ride! I joined as a standard volunteer for my interest in sports and especially running. A month later I was promoted to Event Director and was leading a team of five with 20 plus children turning up to sessions.

I have definitely learnt some valuable skills from volunteering and charity work. Interaction, public speaking and confidence are few of many.

Kids Run Free have many venues, there is one location in Gladstone Park, Brent and has running events bi-weekly. There are events on the first and third Saturday of each month at 9am. You can see the Kids Run Free website for more details.

It really is a good and noble cause. You also can help volunteer or simply spread the word so kids in Brent enjoy a healthy Saturday morning instead of ‘playing on an iPad’ for example.

I would like to end on an important point. Volunteering isn’t only good for your CV but it helps self-confidence, belief and inspirations. You develop many life skills which helps you and your brain to develop.

So happy volunteering from me!

By Saqlain Choudry, 16

If you would like to get involved in volunteering with local organisations in Brent, then Volunteering Brent can help find you an opportunity that suits your interests and time available. For more information, contact Theodora on 0300 365 9920 or email You can also visit the Volunteering Brent website.







Mental health and young people

Mental health pic

The term mental illness is subject to a lot of misconceptions despite efforts to educate society about it. Feeling down for a couple of days is not depression and just because someone likes to be neat does not mean that they have OCD. Depression for some people is not being able to get out of bed because it is too much effort. OCD for some people is washing your hands until they bleed. Mental illnesses are brutal. They are not discriminative of age, gender, social class and culture.

Did you know that according to the Mental Health Foundation, 10 percent of 5 – 16 year olds have a clinically diagnosable mental illness? According to Child’s Trends, 10 percent of adolescents with mental illness have anxiety and 8 percent experience major depression. What is even more worrying about the high prevalence of mental illnesses in youth, is that recorded statistics may only be the tip of the iceberg as some people suffer mental illnesses in silence.

The causes of mental illnesses are not clear cut. Evidence suggests that mental illnesses are a result of the interaction between genes and the environment. People may have genes that make them vulnerable to developing a disease. Certain factors may enhance the expression of genes such as family problems, bullying and exam stress. However, the extent to which the environment and genes are culpable is debated.

Once upon a time, mental illnesses was dealt with in barbaric ways such as insulin shock treatment to induce a coma. What revolutionized treatment of mental illnesses, before the time of drugs was talking therapies. Research suggests that talking about problems may help to alleviate them. You do not have to talk to a therapist or a counsellor – talking to someone who you trust may make a significant difference. Also, exercise has also been shown to correlate with a positive state of mind. If you are a friend of someone who has a mental illness, what you could do is be there for them. You should not expect them to miraculously change back over night, but neither should you lose hope about their chances of remission.

The first step to dealing with a mental illness officially is going to the GP and explaining your symptoms. A doctor will diagnose you with a mental illness if you fit the criteria. Drugs to treat mental disorders are not usually prescribed for under 18 year olds because evidence had suggested they have an adverse effect. However, a GP is likely to refer a patient to a therapy.

Now in Brent, GP’s can refer young people from 11 – 21 years to the Brent Centre. Most of their services are on the basis that a young person is referred either by the GP or teacher. The services offered are psychotherapies which is the broad term for therapies that treat emotional and mental health issues. The Brent Centre has a lot of bases, including schools such as Preston Manor.

If you want to find out more information about what Brent Centre do and how you can locate them, please visit their website:

For more information about mental illnesses please go to the following websites:

by Linda Moronfolu, 17

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