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Saturday, 23 October 2021
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Charities collaborate for Children’s Mental Health Week during pandemic

CHILDREN’S Mental Health Week 2021 focuses on children’s ability to ‘Express Yourself’. This involves encouraging children to find ways to express their feelings, especially about the pandemic pressures, through discussion, communication and creativity.    

John Lyon’s Charity (JLC) has always valued the work of organisations supporting children and young people with their mental health, awarding 126 grants totalling over £8.75m since 2010. Funding from John Lyon’s Charity has helped the Catholic Children’s Society support thousands of children experiencing mental health difficulties by providing qualified therapists to work on-site in schools. This has proved a very successful partnership. This work has grown to include providing mental health training for school staff and specialist training to help schools support groups for children experiencing bereavement and loss.

The Catholic Children’s Society now works in over 80 schools across London (Catholic and non-Catholic). During the pandemic, they have supported over 4,500 vulnerable children, both through their mental health services and by providing emergency food and essentials for families living in poverty.

 Greg Brister, Catholic Children’s Society’s Deputy CEO, said:  

“The pandemic and subsequent lockdown have been extremely challenging for disadvantaged children, particularly those with a history of mental health difficulties. Together with difficult home lives and poor housing conditions, the lack of routine has made life very hard and isolating for many children.”

“Fortunately, thanks to funders like John Lyon’s Charity, our mental health services have been able to continue supporting children throughout the pandemic. This has included delivering therapy face-to-face in schools and providing sessions for children at home via telephone/video calls. Offering this consistent support has made a huge difference when children have faced so much change and uncertainty in their lives.”

JLC has worked with the Catholic Children Society for many years and provided over £1million to support their mental health services in schools. This close partnership has been particularly effective during the lockdown. They have worked together to ensure vulnerable children and young people can continue to access specialist mental health support despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Grants Director at JLC, Cathryn Pender told Charity Today:

“The charity has long had a reputation for funding emotional wellbeing projects; its commitment had risen steadily in the last ten years from £137,000 in 2010 to £1.2million in 2020. We have always been aware that there is a need for our funding for children and mental health and working so closely with Catholic Children Society over the years has certainly proven that. We hope that other organisations take advantage of the Emotional Wellbeing grants JLC has to offer, as well as the ongoing support we as a Grants Team provide to organisations to help them ensure the vulnerable children and young people who need support are reached.”

One positive development both Charities have seen is that lockdown has helped remove some of the stigmas around accessing mental health services.

Catholic Children’s Society, John Lyon’s Charity and many other charities involved with Children’s Mental Health Week are calling for more support to ensure children and young people do not develop long-lasting mental health issues due to Covid-19.

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