Worcestershire Freemasons have teamed up with their brothers from across the nation to pledge more than £550,000 to help those suffering with mental health issues. 

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, is supporting various institutions, schools, and universities with the funding.

Among the institutions receiving support, the Freemasons are donating £125,000 to Young Minds to help them to support approximately 1.4 million young people, with a wider goal of increasing Young Minds’ reach by 10% to help many more young people find the support they need.

This comes as part of a push to help the nation exit the Covid-19 pandemic "in a better state of mental health".

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: "The pandemic has been devastating and mental health is a very important topic to us and our members.

"During the pandemic, thousands of Freemasons supported people in their communities, preventing mental health problems and supporting many families. This issue must be one of our priorities and we are joining forces to keep the population safe and feeling well."

According to a survey conducted by Young Minds in 2020, 83% of young people said the pandemic had made their mental health worse, while According to NHS Prevalence Data 2020, one in six young people have a probable mental disorder. 

And the UGLE will also allow 100,000 children and young people across the UK to access information, support, and guidance online.

In addition, the donation will help to develop and pilot the Suicide Safer Schools programme, supporting 1,000 young people and 500 parents, teachers, and staff, by raising awareness of suicide prevention, understanding help-seeking behaviour, and training selected staff in suicide intervention.

Dr Staples added: "The UGLE has carefully chosen the institutions we are supporting, focusing on those with important objectives to achieve in the areas of tackling racism, mental health issues, living with bipolar disorder and prevention of young suicide.

"We need to do everything we can to help as many people as possible."