Dorset Mind, the mental health charity, have started to pilot their first stage of extensive plans to help support young people with their mental health. In order to do this, six local Rotary Clubs have pooled their resources to raise a total of £10,000 from the target of £15,000 required for the charity to afford an experienced Project Leader.
Rotary International is well-renowned for supporting local charities the world over – but this is the first time in five years that six clubs in Dorset have supported one cause with a sizeable donation. A project group including key Rotary Club delegates has worked alongside Dorset Mind to develop business plans and strategy – to ensure the project is sustainable going forward.
‘Dorset Mind Your Head’ brings together a holistic approach to mental health support for young people. Proposed services include awareness raising campaigns; education programmes; befriending; counselling; telephone/email signposting; moderated online forums; and drop-in sessions.
The charity estimates to run these services over five years they will require £1,117,000 to fund the complete programme. By appointing the project manager, they have begun to put the pilot scheme into action working with Corfe Hills School, Bournemouth Collegiate School and The Grange School. The charity is also working with Thomas Hardy School in Dorchester and the Purbeck Youth Centre.
The feedback for ‘Dorset Mind Your Head’ has been excellent from the schools and students so far.
Headteacher of The Grange School Jane Asplin-Locke says “As a school we take children’s wellbeing very seriously and being a part of the Dorset Mind schools pilot project has been extremely valuable. Working at a strategic level to ensure that we develop excellent practice in developing and supporting young people with strategies to understand the importance of mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing.”
A Thomas Hardye student that attended an exam stress workshop in May gave the following feedback “Really helpful. Good to feel not alone and (there are) techniques to tackle stress and understand how stress works and the mind processes. The breathing techniques and mindfulness were really useful – made me realise that I could control my mental health. The most invaluable thing I learned this year!”
National evidence states that 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5-16 are known to live with a diagnosable mental health condition – that’s around 3 children in every class. But, in our experience, we believe that number is actually much higher. The impact of this is huge – on the young people themselves of course, but also on their families, classmates, teachers and communities as a whole. But we know we can make a real difference with this programme and we are passionate about making it a success.
The key is to educate young people at an early age. And by doing so, there is a chance that we can stop small issues becoming considerable problems.
Dorset Mind are currently piloting ‘Dorset Mind Your Head’ mental health programme in three schools. It aims to normalise conversation about mental health, deliver education and provide support options. But this complex programme is not cheap – we need to raise over £1,000,000 to provide services over five years.”
Rotary Assistant Governor, Mike Dwyer added, “Young people’s mental health issues are finally getting the recognition and support that is urgently required. I am delighted that my clubs have partnered to ‘kick start’ this project.”
Dorset Mind intends to roll-out their services across Dorset when they have been tried and tested – and when the money is in place to fund them.
For more information, or if you would like to contribute towards these essential services for young people, please see the charity’s website: dorsetmind.uk.