Skip to main content

Your web browser is not fully supported by BBC Children in Need, so parts of the website may not function correctly.

The power of the ordinary

The Centre of Mental Health’s evaluation of BBC Children in Need‘s A Million and Me programme underscores the power of ordinary, trusted relationships to help children who are beginning to struggle with their mental health. Read our Trustee Jonathan Munro’s foreword to the report below:

When, as a Trustee of BBC Children in Need, I was asked to chair its mental health project A Million & Me, I posed a pretty basic question: why is the project called that?

The answer was very instructive. Every young person in the UK with a mental health challenge should know they are in good company – there are, it’s estimated, a million others.

It’s quite a responsibility to try to help as many of those million as we can. They live in all corners of the UK, they may be rich or poor, boys or girls, they may crave conversation or silence. But all of them need support, so that a mental health challenge does not turn into a crisis.

I’m immensely proud to present this report on behalf of A Million and Me. We could not have done any of this work without the generosity of the donors to Children in Need, and I thank them all.

I’d also like to thank the many professionals who have given their time and expertise to this effort. I have learned an immense amount from them. Centre for Mental Health has been a valued learning partner, and here identifies important opportunities to create a positive environment for children to thrive, at a time when it is most needed.

In 2017, BBC Children in Need Trustees made a bold commitment of  £10 million to support children’s mental health.  With the help of independent expert Miranda Wolpert, A Million & Me was designed to fund work that would lead to a progressive change in how children aged 8-13 are supported when they begin to struggle with their mental health and wellbeing.

The Covid-19 pandemic could not have been predicted, nor the current crisis in rising child poverty.  However the impact of these on children who are already struggling renders the findings of this programme all the more important.

Funding work with children across the UK who are facing a range of disadvantages, BBC Children in Need has long recognised and valued community based activities and the trusted relationships they deliver, as a way to support children through difficult times.

This report details the work of  a diverse portfolio of funded partners, where there is common purpose in seeking  better and simpler ways of supporting children to enjoy good mental health.

A circle of trust provided around children – the “ordinary magic” of everyday relationships –  is enhanced by expert, accessible information, and building confidence among trusted adults and children themselves to identify and address their concerns.

The recent, rapid development of digital initiatives can offer access to expert information. We will continue to use our unique connection to the BBC as a platform to share curated resources reaching children, schools  and families across the UK.

In addition to a powerful children’s panel, an Advisory Group of sector experts was established to guide our approach.  Since 2018 this Group has committed their time and expertise for which we are very grateful. While A Million & Me as a programme is complete, the ongoing work will be integrated into the main portfolio of BBC Children in Need and the learning will be amplified through future funding and partnerships.

Please read the report, share the findings and reflect on the challenges and opportunities identified.

My thanks to all involved, and especially to my colleague Paddy Sloan who has led the project through these challenging times with enormous skill, determination and focus. The results could not have been achieved without her, and those who have been helped are – unbeknown to them – in her debt.

And this report is about them – the million whom we’ve tried to support.

Jonathan Munro

Chair, A Million & Me Advisory Group

addbankCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background calendarCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background chevron-down chevron-lchevron-rchevron-upcommentcross>CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background detect-locationdocumentdownloadCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background emailembedexportfavouritefilterhelphomeinfoiphone iplayer liveCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background more-horizontalmore-verticalphonepingitpostCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background quote-end quote-open searchsettingsshareshowcase-threads social-facebook social-instagram social-linkedin CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background social-pinterest social-twitter social-youtube sounds CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background ticktimeCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background puzzle-shelfAsset 1