The new fund, created by the Worcestershire Community Foundation, aims to address the gap in care for young people with low-level mental health conditions who may not currently qualify for any statutory support.
It comes as figures show health referrals by schools more than doubled in 2018, with nearly a third being declined treatment or support.
The Malvern-based Foundation is seeking to raise over £30,000 by next Spring and has committed to match-fund through its own fundraising – helping finance a range of projects which empower at-risk young people to recognise and deal with mental health issues.
The Foundation said the new fund, which was launched on World Mental Health Day at an event in Malvern, will support programmes focusing on early intervention and disadvantaged young people, including those at risk of falling into crime.
Rob Sykes, trustee at the Malvern-based charitable hub, said: “Our research indicates that if we can start to address these issues through a focused fund many challenges could be resolved at an early stage through engaging young people in programmes which help raise awareness and build robust mental health.
“We hope that our approach helps those who are struggling and helps young people to recognise their issues and learn coping strategies, along with allowing them to reconnect with themselves, their families and society before experiencing serious problems.”
A steering group of local mental health specialists will continue their work with the Foundation on considering mental health needs across the county. To have a wider impact, Mr Sykes added that for the next two years the Foundation will also work closely with three selected charity partners – YSS, Young Solutions, and Redditch’s The Forge Pupil Referral Unit.
CEO of YSS, Catherine Kevis, added: “YSS is pleased to embark on this joint journey with WCF to address the scourge of mental ill health for some people in the county. YSS works with a diverse range of people and one of the recurring themes in their life is mental health.
“For the county to thrive, people need to access the right support at the right time and communities need to be conducive to mental wellbeing for all. Together we can make this happen.”
For further information, donate or get involved with this project in any way, readers can contact Lucy Wells, WCF’s development director, through email@example.com or by calling 07909 111812.