My name is Mair Elliott, I am 22 years old and a Young Patient
Activist. My Journey into activism began in 2013 when Welsh
Government launched an inquiry into Child and Adolescent
Mental Health services (CAMHS). I had been accessing
CAMHS since the age of 14 and experienced first hand the
crisis in the services and the effects it can have on a young
person needing specialist care for mental illness. The issues I
faced in trying to access appropriate support gave me a sense
of frustration, anger and injustice – how was it fair that if I had a
physical illness I’d be treated with no delay or judgement on
behalf of health professionals, but it was the opposite when
it came to mental illness? This sense of injustice ignited the
drive to push for change.
I gave written and spoken evidence to the inquiry into CAMHS. From that I was asked by S4C and ITV Wales to be part of the production of 2 current affairs programmes investigating CAMHS in Wales. The programmes were very successful, with the welsh language S4C programme winning a BAFTA Cymru award. Following the success of these programmes I have been afforded some amazing opportunities and my passion and drive has only grown stronger.
I am now Chair of Hafal, Wales’ largest third sector service provider for people with serious mental illness and their families, a research champion for Cardiff university’s National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), a patient representative on the executive committee for the Welsh Royal College of Psychiatrists, a specialist lay member on NICE’s Quality Standards Advisory Committee (QSAC) for School based interventions for health promotion, a specialist lay member on NICE's guideline update committee for the Depression in Children and Young People guideline, and a Time to Change Wales Young Champion. I have completed Disability Wales’ Enabling Wales training, Youth mental health first aid training, and partook in the European Patient Forum’s Summer (2017) Leadership training programme in Vienna.
I am an accomplished public speaker, speaking at TEDxODED 2017, Cerebra’s annual conference at the Royal society of Medicine 2015, the Mental Health Exhibition 2015 and 2016 in Cardiff, the Welsh NHS Confederation annual conference 2017, the AMHPA Taking Stock conference 2017 in Manchester, a reception at the House of Lords for Cerebra in 2016, and the NAS professional conference in 2018, to name a few examples.
Another of my accomplishments was to co-author a report looking into the mental health a wellbeing of Children and young people in Wales called ‘Making Sense’, alongside my colleagues at Hafal, the High Needs collaborative and the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young people. I was involved in the consultation process, results analysis, writing of the report, and presentation of the report at various events. The recommendations made in the report were adopted by T4CYP as their own benchmarking goals.
For my work since 2013 I have won the 2016 ‘Making a Difference’ award at the Youth Work Excellence Awards, the 2017 ‘Youth Achievement Award’ at the NASEN Awards, and the 2018 ‘Citizenship Award’ at the St Davids Awards.
My mission is to raise awareness of mental illness and/or autism and breakdown stigma by speaking openly and honestly about my own story of mental illness and autism. Part of my mission is to also ensure that future generations can access timely, appropriate, high quality support from health services or other service providers. I work from a rights-based mindset and seek to empower other young people to stand up and fight for what they believe in!
On a personal note, I am an outdoors enthusiast - hiking, wild swimming, horse riding, rock climbing, running and yoga to name a few of my activity based hobbies! I love to cook fresh, delicious food, spend time with my animals and chill with my family. I am always going to be autistic and will most likely always have a degree of mental illness - but I work everyday to ensure I don't let that stop me from doing the things I love! I am an advocate for self-care, self acceptance and living a mindful life.
Want to hear me speak? Curious about my story? Think I could help you or your organisation to understand mental health and/or Autism?
I'm available for hire for public speaking events, and am available for hire to partake in committees, meetings, workshops and policy/procedure/systemic change planning events.
Get in touch; Mair.firstname.lastname@example.org
I have experience talking and working with the NHS, third sector organisations, the Police force, local and national governments, and education services. I am happy for any public, private or third sector bodies to get in touch. I am bi-lingual, Welsh and English, and able to speak/communicate in both languages.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, if you need professional help please seek advice from your GP or health care team. I am happy to chat and offer advice as a person who suffers with mental illness and is autistic, but that should not be seen as an alternative to professional help.
As an activist and public speaker, I speak from a personal perspective and can offer informal training, advice and information. This should not be confused with formal, accredited training.