My Trip to Buckingham Palace
Hi, I’m Teniola Dowie. I’m currently a medical student and St Andrews and for the past two years I’ve volunteered with 42nd Street, a young people’s mental health charity, to campaign and help improve mental health services for young people in Manchester.
During 2017 I worked with Youth Access to organise a Mental Health Takeover Day at The Department of Health in which young people from across the UK would have the opportunity to voice their concerns to MPs and civil servants over the way young people’s mental health is handled in the UK. The event was held in April and I gave a presentation explaining why 42nd Street works so well in Manchester, like for example how the service is available up to 25 and how the building is welcoming and ‘cosy’ like a living room rather than having a clinical feel. I also ran a workshop to illustrate this which was well received by the participants.
To my surprise in October I received a letter from Buckingham Palace inviting me to meet Princes William and Harry and Princess Kate, at the palace in recognition of the work I’d put in as a young campaigner. I couldn’t believe that I had been nominated for this opportunity!
The day of my visit was a bit of a whirlwind. The palace is very grand as you would imagine, and we were only allowed to take pictures in certain places. As we were being served delicious food and drinks Will, Kate and Harry made their entrance and circled the room to greet all of us. Stephen Fry made a lovely speech about how our work in mental health has been so important to the progress that has been made nationally in informing people more about mental health and opening platforms for people to speak about it more openly without judgement or stigma. All in all a fantastic day.