This week London Youth is joining the Mental Health Foundation in marking Mental Health Awareness Week.

The London Youth members’ network, including Free to be Kids and Croydon Drop In, play a huge role in helping to break down barriers associated with talking about the mental health of young people. They also have a practical role in providing support to young people experiencing mental health difficulties.

Free to Be Kids is working to support the emotional health, confidence and self-esteem of particularly disadvantaged children & young people from across London. Their main programme, Thrive Outside, uses nature based residentials designed specifically to increase children and young people confidence and self-esteem and to deliver the sense of achievement. The children and young people often hold negative views of their own capacity and value. The Free to Be Kids team supports them to safely overcome anxieties, worries, and challenges in ways which feel safe and fun.

The evidence based evaluation verified that 96% of these young people further developed social skills; 91% improved self-esteem/confidence and 86% reported trying and succeeding at something they’d previously not thought possible. All made memories to last a lifetime and which add to their story about who they are and who they can become.

Their referrals come from a wide range of sources: schools, housing associations, local authorities and other support services reaching the most vulnerable families. If you would like to find out more about Free to Be, including how to volunteer or refer young people, please visit their website.

Croydon Drop In supports young people and families with free and confidential counselling information, advice and advocacy services. With funding from London Youth, they are developing and piloting a workshop Stretched not Stressed exploring neuroscience and the In8 needs giving young people the opportunity to learn. This will give them a better understanding of the brains messaging system enabling them to recognise when the In8 needs of the brain and body are not being met to function healthily.

 “I think this was amazing, I can use this information to help me with day to day issues and at school. I was struggling with studying and pressure but now I know I wasn’t meeting all my needs. I need to see my friends, go out, enjoy activities like football instead of always studying. Thank you so much for making me feel calm and in control.” (Year 11 young attendee at workshop March 2018)                            

To find out more about their work please visit their website.

London Youth is leading the Mental Health and Wellbeing Network. Together with policy-makers, politicians and the media picking up on the need for working on mental health, and service demand higher than ever, our next meeting will provide participants with an opportunity to have the say on mental health and wellbeing.

We will hear from previous London Youth Development Grant recipients whose successful pilot summer programmes aimed to improve the mental wellbeing of their participants.

Working with members and other partners, attending this meeting will also be a chance for you to strengthen your networks.

Lucia Tichá, Marketing Manager