YOUNG people in Tavistock took part in a recent health awareness project to highlight stress-related illness among teenagers and young people in today’s society and improve communications between young people and their doctors.

An open event was held at Tavistock College recently, where the culmination of the health awareness project, undertaken by students of the college and supported by Tavyside Patients’ Association (TPA), was made with a presentation of its findings.

The project hoped to discover what concerned young people most and how much they knew and understood about what a healthy lifestyle meant. The TPA hopes that the event will support their aims of improving communications between young people and their doctors by raising awareness of how young people view current health issues and although the TPA is hoping that this will reach young patients of Tavyside Health Centre, it hopes that it will also help others too.

The project, with the help of a £150 grant from Tavistock Town Council, involved over 25 students in years 10 to 12 who put themselves forward to undertake research among their colleagues, family and friends to try to get answers to some difficult questions.

A spokesperson for the TPA said: ‘Working via a virtual classroom on their laptops and under the guidance of Neil Hosking, head of Year 11, with support from Wendy Stevens, head of health and social care, the students discussed a number of areas of concern, but concentrated the four presentations given on the day on domestic abuse, teenage pregnancy, alcohol abuse and mental health issues.

‘Following research of the topics, the students devised, circulated and activated the questionnaires. They then undertook evaluation of the responses and comments received.

‘They then presented their findings at the open event at the college before VIP invited guests, including Mayor of Tavistock Mandy Ewings, and former county councillor Debo Sellis.’

Also at the presentation were TPA committee members, Tavistock College principal Sarah Jones, teaching staff, fellow students, friends and relatives.

The spokesperson added: ‘Following each presentation by the students there was an opportunity for questions from the floor to which the students responded knowledgeably and well to the many varied questions posed.

‘Joining in, the honoured guests expressed their admiration of the work completed by the students and for the work of the TPA and Tavistock College on the collaborative project.

Beryl Masters, honorary secretary for the Tavyside Patients’ Association gave a vote of thanks to the students after the open event. She said: ‘Special thanks to Tavistock College and students for allowing us to be part of their health awareness event. The TPA has been promoting relations between our health centre and the young people in the area for several years with our photographic competition and see this event as an extension of this relationship.

‘Young people are are often wary and reluctant to visit their GP with their problems and we are hoping that by raising the profile of the health centre in a relaxed, friendly manner through projects like these, we can help to relieve the anxiety that young people may feel in these type of circumstances.

‘We look forward to being involved with further projects with students at Tavistock College in the future.’