PARENTS of thousands of young people who are struggling with their mental health will be able to get help from trained advisors and volunteers thanks to a major grant from London Freemasons to YoungMinds mental health charity.
The £85,000 grant to YoungMinds will support their free Parents Helpline. The helpline is open Monday-Friday 9am to 4pm, however, parents can contact them outside of normal operating hours via email. It is staffed by 18 volunteers, five Helpline Advisers and two Team Leaders, alongside 23 mental health Professional Advisers. The volunteers who answer the initial calls help parents to understand their child’s behaviour and also give practical advice on how to get support.
Last year the helpline answered nearly 8,000 calls and supported over 4,000 parents through their email service. They were also able to give nearly 3,000 parents a 50-minute call-back with a trained mental health professional adviser.
Young people today face a wide range of pressures including school stress, concerns about how they look and difficult relationships with family and friends. Traumatic experiences at a young age – like growing up in poverty, experiencing neglect or dealing with bereavement can also impact mental health. On average, three children in every classroom has a mental health problem, and many more go through periods when they struggle to cope.
When a young person does reach out for support with their mental health, they often face barriers such as long waiting times and high thresholds. YoungMinds Parents Helpline hears from parents frequently who say that their child’s problems have got worse waiting for mental health support.
The pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been a time of greater anxiety for everyone, including young people. In a recent survey by YoungMinds, 83 per cent of young people with mental health needs said that the pandemic and the restrictions on movement had made their mental health worse. The Helpline has heard from many parents worried about the impact of the pandemic in their child’s mental health. In response, the charity has created dedicated resources on their blog. Advice includes ’Talking to your child about coronavirus’ which was viewed over 30,000 times in less than a month, this is in comparison to a usual monthly average of 2,000 views per blog.
The charity has also developed its digital content on everything from surviving close family contact on an ongoing basis, to dealing with health anxiety and pulling together ideas for virtual shared activities that can support young people who are worried about isolation. In addition to this, they are also working closely with National Health Service England, Public Health England and other charities to align support and ensure the best possible advice and guidance for young people and their families are being created and shared.
The grant from London Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Vanessa Longley, Director of Fundraising at YoungMinds, said:
“We’re really grateful to London Freemasons for their generous grant, which will help us to give vital support to thousands of parents and carers of young people struggling with their mental health across the capital.
“Being able to talk to people who understand what families are going through and who can provide practical advice can make all the difference.”
Adrian Fox from London Freemasons said:
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help with this vital service. There are thousands of parents out there who desperately need help to cope with the mental health issues their children are suffering. YoungMinds are providing an essential service that offers a lifeline to parents and children alike.”