lucie russellIn this guest blog, YoungMinds’ Lucie Russell talks about the charity’s new website that aims to take the fear factor out of mental health medication for young people:

Getting a grip on mental health medication if you have been prescribed it is a minefield for adults and for young people it’s an even scarier prospect. To address this and demystify the world of mental health meds YoungMinds has recently launched HeadMeds, a new website about mental health medication for young people aged 13-25.

HeadMeds is funded by Comic Relief and the Nominet Trust as part of the Innovation Labs ( project, which has developed a range of digital projects to improve young people’s mental health.

Created in the style of the ‘Talk to Frank’ website, HeadMeds provides young people with accessible and useful information about mental health medication during a time that is often confusing, frightening and isolating for them.

It includes information about potential side effects, when a young person should go and get help and provides answers to some of the difficult questions that they may have around their medication but may feel uncomfortable asking their GP about, including whether it will affect their sex life or can they drink with this medication? Complete with real life stories and created side by side with young people HeadMeds provides much-needed straight talk on mental health medication whenever young people need it.

The website has been developed by a range of pharmacology experts and young people and it has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the College of Mental Health Pharmacy.

HeadMeds fills the information gap about mental health medication for young people who need it. Knowledge is power and Headmeds gives young people comprehensive information about the bewildering world of medication so when they visit their GP or health professional they are armed with more resources.

One of the young members of our Expert Reference Group who helped us create the site said at our launch event in March: “Taking medication for mental health problems is not just about taking a pill: it can be an emotional and physical rollercoaster too. It’s so important young people feel they are not alone, that somewhere, someone else has faced a similar battle, a similar whirl of emotion.”

Her words say it all – if you work with young people spread the word about HeadMeds, it’s a great resource for mental health professionals too as it increases their understanding of mental health medication too.

About the author - Lucie Russell is director of campaigns and media at YoungMinds