W Bro Gary Neilson meets with Vanessa Longley, Director of Development at YoungMinds
‘YoungMinds is leading the movement to make sure every young person gets the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what.
‘In the UK today, an estimated five children in every classroom have a mental health problem. A quarter of 17-year-old girls have self-harmed in the last year, while suicide remains the single biggest killer of boys and young men.
‘It takes courage to ask for help. But for many young people who do, the support they need just isn't there. Just over one in three children and young people with a diagnosable mental health condition get access to NHS care and treatment. We know that when a young person doesn't get help early, their mental health can get worse. Some young people must wait for months or even years, reaching crisis long before they get any support.
‘But it doesn't have to be that way.
‘Every young person whose mental health ends up in crisis is a young person who has been failed. We want to see a world where every young person who is struggling feels able to reach out and has someone around them and services that can really help. Whether they need a reassuring conversation, specialist mental health support, or simply the knowledge that they are not alone in how they are feeling, we will make sure that all young people get the support that meets them where they're at as quickly as possible.
‘We work closely with young people and their families, campaigning on several issues that impact them and their mental health. Vital to this work is a group of young people, our Activists, who shape our work and campaign for political change and spread the message about how to look after your mental health.
‘We also run a parent's helpline, which offers free advice and support to any adult who's worried about the behaviour or mental health of a young person.
‘The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a major impact on young people's mental health, and many have struggled to cope with social isolation, anxiety, disruption to education, bereavement, or fears about their future. Our research throughout the pandemic has raised awareness of the issues young people are facing and calls for the necessary changes to support them through this time.
‘Right now, we are focusing on ensuring that young people and families can access the right advice, tools, and information to support their mental health online. We continue to campaign for better and earlier support for young people who are struggling. We strive to empower adults to give the best support they can be to the young people in their lives, and we give young people the space and confidence to get their voices heard and change the world we live in.
‘We are grateful for the financial support received from London Freemasons, which enables us to continue to work closely with young people and their families.’
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 46 October 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 46.