Six charities have been awarded funding from the Berkeley Foundation to pilot new and innovative methods of addressing mental health problems among London's vulnerable or marginalised young people.
These pioneering projects will receive a share of £279,000, and will explore different approaches to tackling this pressing issue, from engaging teens through sport, to taking therapy out onto the streets.
50% of mental health issues are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24, yet just a quarter of young people receive the professional help they need. This can result in anxiety and depression through to self-harm, eating disorders and even suicide.
The projects will be delivered by the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families, Free to Be Kids, Harlequins Foundation, Leap Confronting Conflict, MAC-UK and St. Matthew's Project and will each focus on specific groups of young people, including those in the care system, young people on the fringes of gangs and those struggling with the transition into secondary school.
The programmes will span the London Boroughs of Hackney, Haringey, Richmond, Brent, Barnet, Islington, Greenwich and Lambeth.
The grants have been awarded through the Berkeley Foundation's recently re-launched Community Investment Fund. This funding programme aims to support the improved wellbeing and resilience of young people aged 11-18 in the communities in which the Berkeley Group works.
The announcement of the two-year funding programme follows a comprehensive application process and coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 (14th - 20th May). The six projects are:
Anna Freud Centre For Children and Families - The States of Mind project will be led by young people for young people, benefitting over 92 of Hackney's vulnerable young people in a peer mentoring programme to help them identify the key mental health issues that concern them and the best ways to respond to them. It is hoped that this project will positively change the way young people view existing mental health services.
Free to be Kids - Following an adventure-fuelled residential trip for young people struggling with the transition into secondary school, the Thrive Mentoring Project will pair up 15 11-14 year olds from Tottenham with a supportive adult mentor, for one to one sessions over a six month period.
Harlequins Foundation - 600 year 6 school pupils in Richmond will work with Harlequins trained coaches through a series of workshops which cover a range of topics including managing emotions, food and mood, and forming positive relationships, underpinned by the values of rugby, all designed to ultimately improve their emotional well-being and mental health.
Leap Confronting Conflict - Under Our Roof is a pilot programme that will provide one-to-one and group sessions for 64 young people in or leaving the care system, and 135 adult carers in Greenwich and Brent. Young people leaving care are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. The programme will help young people and their carers to build supportive, healthy relationships and reduce instability.
MAC-UK - The NQ-INTEGRATE project will work with 290 12-18 year olds from the Boroughs of Barnet, Islington, Hackney and Haringey, who are some of the most excluded young people in London through a 'street therapy' approach to mental health. The project will take two newly-qualified professional practitioners out of the clinic and onto the streets to work with excluded young people where they are and when they most need it. It is hoped that the 'street therapy' model will be replicated within the services and wider systems that young people interact with.
St. Matthew's Project - The Fit for Life programme will work with 120 8-14 year olds who are on the edge of gangs and crime in Lambeth. Every week, a group of young people will have the opportunity to attend an hour long group mental health and wellbeing session delivered by a professional counsellor, followed by two hours of football and food.
Dr Peter Fuggle, Director of Clinical Services at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families says:
"The 'States of Mind' programme aims to engage those individuals who rarely engage in mental health support, to develop a mentoring scheme which will improve young people's understanding of what mental health issues are so that they can be more effectively supported. We are incredibly grateful to the Berkeley Foundation for supporting this project and allowing us to reach more young people with our work."
Sally Dickinson, Head of the Berkeley Foundation said:
"We are delighted to be supporting six fantastic local charities through our Community Investment Fund, all of which are doing valuable work in the realm of youth mental health. Berkeley Foundation is committed to providing young people with the tools and resilience they need to cope and thrive - the innovative projects we are supporting will do just that. We look forward to working with all six charities over the next two years to encourage positive mental health and wellbeing in young people".
For more information about the six funded projects, visit www.berkeleyfoundation.org.uk
The Berkeley Foundation's next community investment funding programme will address youth homelessness in London and the south of England. The programme will open for applications in June 2018 and further details will be uploaded to the Foundation website.