A NEW mental health fund which supports young people in Worcestershire has been launched in response to figures which highlight a rise in young people’s mental health challenges.

The new fund, created by the Malvern-based 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 Enigma Business Park-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.

Trustee Rob Sykes 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 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.

For further information, contact Lucy Wells, WCF’s development director, through lucy.wcf@comfirst.org.uk or by calling 07909 111812.