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How we are supporting mental health

BBC Children in Need currently funds 2,548 projects across the UK to the value of £162,883, 759, supporting 555,000 children all of whom are dealing with challenge in their lives. That’s why we fund their support organisations and that’s why people donate to Children in Need, to make life a bit better for children who are going through difficult times.

For those who are beginning to struggle with their mental health, there is an opportunity to address their feelings before they become embedded mental health conditions. 50% of adult mental health problems are established before the age of 14 and 75% before 18 years old. We are looking to intervene at the stage before clinical treatment is offered, in that “missing middle” when it’s clear children are struggling but they don’t meet the threshold for Child and Adolescent Mental Heath Service (CAMHS)  support. We currently fund 1,501 projects supporting children and young people across the UK with their mental health and emotional wellbeing to a value of £94.7m. We fund work with children and young people across the spectrum of mental health from emerging signs of anxiety to more significant mental health challenges.

Trusted adult toolkit

The organisations we fund such as community based networks of sport, arts and youthwork, can provide the scaffolding needed to help children through the early, struggling phase of mental health problems. The role of a trusted adult running these sessions can aso be critical in providing some certainty when a child is feeling isolated and a bit lost. Evidence tells us that the more positive relationships there are in a child’s life, the better able they are to thrive. The “ordinary magic” of trust and friendship is a powerful tool. To build on those relationships, BBC Children in Need is working with Anna Freud to design and deliver a toolkit for those trusted adults, so that they have the confidence and knowledge to listen to children, help to clarify concerns and know if and where to get additional help.

A Million and Me

A Million & Me is a programme designed explicitly to fund and promote work across the UK to create a positive network of support around children. Encouraging informed and open conversations at an early stage, issues with their emotional well being can be recognised and help given – how, when and where the children want it. As a result more children can enjoy good mental health before the need for clinical intervention is established.

Through a range of work across communities of interest, geographically dispersed, virtual and local projects have been funded that are designed to deliver sustainable, scalable, systemic change in how children are supported with their wellbeing and mental health.

  • Over the past two years of this programme we have learned:
  • That mental distress is a normal part of children’s lives
  • That everyday positive interactions and activities can promote good mental health – “ordinary magic”
  • Relationships are critical in supporting children’s mental health
  • That it is important for children to talk about emotions
  • That listening skills and mental health informed vocabulary are useful tools for children and those people who have relationships with them
  • That culturally appropriate responses are needed for different racial groups, children of different abilities and diverse gender and sexual identities.

You can find the full list of funded parnters and collaborations for the Million and Me programme here.

Use the links below to explore more about how we support mental health.

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