WHAT appeal raises over £10,000

Update on progress made by WHAT

Appeal raises over £10,000 and the Headlight Project to begin in Sidmouth in April

Press release 25 Feb 2020

WHAT, the Wellbeing and Health Action Team, is a group of people representing a range of organisations in Sidmouth who wish to do something locally to support young people with mental health issues.We know that our mental health and wellbeing are vital to our ability to thrive and achieve.

But one in ten young people has some form of diagnosable mental health condition and we know that children with a mental health problem face unequal chances in their lives, and for many their childhood mental health issues continue into adulthood. Probably all of us know someone in our family or friendship group who suffers from poor mental health.In the South West 15.5% of 5 to 19 year olds experience some form of mental disorder, 2nd only to the South East region with 15.6%. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)which is the main NHS provision for young People under 18 with mental health support needs has waiting times of up to one year for young people not assessed as in urgent need of support.Last year local GPs referred 102 YP under 18 to CAMHS. This number does not include schools, youth club or self referrals. The GPs say it is an underestimate because they often refer people to private support if they can afford to pay. The schools often don’t refer or try to find other provision.

WHAT is working to support Young People’s Mental Health through improved local access

We know that young people want support locally, not in Exeter. We will do it by working together to provide local support to improve young people’s wellbeing and reduce the stigma of mental health issues A lot has already been achieved in the Primary schools, Sidmouth College and in the Youth Club through Young Devon to support young people. There has also been a wonderful response from the community to support prevention and early intervention provision. Mental Health Ambassadors provide support in the Primary school, workshops provide support for parents and carers and also offer help with anxiety. We are very lucky to have a Town Council that continues to support young people through the provision at the Youth Centre and funding for the Wellbeing Practitioner. Sidmouth College has a school counselling service that sees 10 students per week. There is an on-going waiting list of around 25 students. A new volunteer counsellor is seeing up to 5 students per week. The School Nurse has one day each 2 weeks and sees 5 students. There is a waiting list.

Further plans include support for parents and carers and workshops for businesses in March to raise awareness about wellbeing and mental health needs. Local organisations and clubs are helping us to raise awareness with their memberships.

The WHAT appeal raises over £10,000

In November 2019 we appealed for funding to help bring ‘Headlight’ to Sidmouth for those young people who need specialist help. Headlight provides a friendly, non-clinical programme for young people who are experiencing emotional and mental health issues. Headlight is a programme delivered by Action East Devon and has a track record of providing the type of support that young people value. Successful projects are already running in Axminster and Ottery St Mary. We needed £10,000 to match fund money that Action East Devon already has from Children in Need to provide Headlight in Sidmouth for one year. The Sidmouth community was amazing! The Parish Church raised over £6000 and we received donations from individuals, some anonymous, and from Sidmouth Primary school, Sidmouth College, Sidmouth Town Council, The Norman Family Trust and Stuart Hughes' Locality Budget. Thanks to this generous support, we now have well over the amount of money that we need to begin the Headlight provision and this will begin from April for young people in the Sid Valley.

Further information can be obtained from Di Fuller on 07786 816890 or di_fuller@hotmail.com WHAT is supported by Sid Valley HELP charity. ENDS