Today is World Mental Health Day. This international day provides the opportunity for individuals, charities, businesses and groups to raise awareness of mental health problems and help educate society on how to support those struggling with their mental health.
We are proud to have recently launched our new Surrey Mental Health Fund, in response to growing mental health issues among children and young people in the county.
Young people face many challenges today that put their mental health at risk, such as body confidence issues, educational factors, or the pressures that come from social media – to name a few. World Mental Health Day brings attention to issues like these in young people facing the world today and starts the conversation around what they need to grow up healthy, happy and resilient. Just like physical health, everyone has mental health, and it is important that we all know how to look after it, especially from a young age.
We are proud to have recently launched a fund which will award grants to charitable projects across the county supporting the improvement of mental health and wellbeing in children and young people.
Having identified the need for a dedicated fund for mental health in Surrey, we’ve worked with partners in the statutory and voluntary sector to develop the priorities for the Fund, based on emerging needs and gaps in support across the county. It became clear that there is a real need to support children of primary school age and during the transition into secondary school, when mental health problems can begin to occur.
Sadly, the Mental Health Foundation notes that approximately 70% of people with a mental health problem have not had support at a sufficiently early age, and that 50% of mental health problems are established by the time a child reaches 14.
Gill Walker, Panel Member of the Surrey Mental Health Fund said:
“Those of us who have anything to do with young people know that some young people are growing up with mental health issues from a very early age, often without good family support. I am talking of children of primary age too. Whilst schools may recognise some of the symptoms and teachers seek to engage outside help wherever possible, it is clear that there is just not enough real help available through counselling and other family support.”
Here in Surrey, it is estimated that 14,500 individuals between the ages of 5 and 15 suffer from at least one mental health issue.
“Young people need to be encouraged to learn how to be emotionally resilient so that their self-worth or esteem can be developed. The new CFS Mental Health Fund is a very welcome step in the right direction, helping young people with mental health issues. Early intervention is always best which is why children who may be as young as 8 years old can be supported, thus preventing more major health issues later on. I really hope that a number of children in Surrey can now be meaningfully helped to overcome their mental health issues and challenges, and to be able to achieve and develop their full potential.”
The Surrey Mental Health Fund is a real example of where philanthropy can be targeted to make a difference in our local communities, by responding to needs as they arise. If you are an individual or business interested in becoming a donor to the Fund, please do get in touch. We currently have a very attractive Match Funding opportunity, which will double donations to the Fund up until November 2018.
The Surrey Mental Health Fund is now open for applications. If you have a project supporting mental health issues in young people aged 8-13, please express your interest using the form here.