ore than £100,000 has been donated to our Young London SOS appeal for Place2Be, the UK’s leading provider of therapeutic counselling in schools, amid alarming signs that adolescent mental health problems are deepening in London.
It came as a survey of 500 teachers in the capital revealed that one in four children are now experiencing mental health difficulties, up sharply from the one in six reported by NHS Digital last July.
The research, carried out by teenage mental health charity stem4 in December, also reports the shocking statistic that one in five teachers in London say they have “witnessed a student showing suicidal behaviours”, with six in 10 saying they “fear harm for students waiting for mental health treatment during the pandemic”.
The Standard’s initiative seeks to provide early intervention for young people by funding more Place2Be counsellors to help a greater number of children in more London schools. The £100,000 received brings the total amount raised since our launch last month to £133,000. This includes a £33,000 gift from QBE Foundation, the charitable arm of QBE Business Insurance, as well as £50,000 from an anonymous philanthropist moved by our “inspirational, eye-opening campaign”.
Other significant donors include Mark and Mo Constantine, co-founders of Lush cosmetics, who gave £10,000. This is on top of the £33,000 grant from the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund to kickstart our appeal. Every £100 donated delivers support for a vulnerable child for a year while £33,000 could cover a whole school service.
Grant Clemence, chairman of QBE Foundation, said: “Giving children support to achieve their ambitions is incredibly important, particularly at a time when so many young people are living through unprecedented upheaval. Through our charitable foundation, we are grateful for the opportunity to support the Evening Standard and Place2Be’s Young London SOS initiative to make a material difference to children and young people with their mental health and personal resilience.”
Lush’s Mo Constantine said: “This is a critical time for all young people and becoming more so with decreasing numbers of places of work, reduced schooling and enforced time at home. Causes like this should be welcomed to enhance youngsters’ futures.”
Lush has set up its own £250,000 Wholeness Fund to provide small grants to support grassroots groups focusing on mental health and wellbeing across the world.
Evening Standard launch Young London SOS mental health campaign
Dr Nihara Krause, consultant clinical psychologist and founder of stem4, said: “Our teacher survey suggests that the official NHS Digital figure that one in six five-to-16 year olds have a probable mental disorder under-represents what is happening. If the Government is serious about turning the tide of mental health in this generation, it needs to take urgent action. What young people need is access to evidence-based services at all levels, from early prevention through to expert NHS help.”
She added that one-third of the teachers surveyed said their referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were routinely rejected because they did not meet severity thresholds. Teachers also reported that 30 per cent of students accepted for treatment were stuck on waiting lists for nine weeks or more. Half of them described the existing health and social care services for students with mental health problems as “very or extremely inadequate”.
— to www.standard.co.uk