PRESS RELEASE: Dorset Mind Launches New Mental Health Programme

DMYH launches today Local Charity Embarks on Game Changing ‘Dorset Mind Your Head’ Campaign…

Bournemouth, Dorset. Monday 8th October. Following a successful pilot programme, pioneering local mental health charity, Dorset Mind launches a new education and support programme today. Called ‘Dorset Mind Your Head’ it aims to help children and young people live a life that is mentally healthy.

Dorset Mind Your Head (www.dorsetmindyourhead.co.uk) is aimed at children and young people aged between 11 – 24 years in schools, colleges, universities and youth centres and offers a comprehensive programme of activity that includes assemblies, workshops, PHSE lessons, one-to-one counselling, peer mentoring, befriending and drop-in support groups.

Corfe Hills School in Poole, Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester; The Grange School in Christchurch; The Blandford School; The Purbeck School; Weymouth College and Bournemouth Collegiate School are already taking part in this game-changing programme.

The pilot began in January this year. Since then, Dorset Mind Your Head has reached 4,250 children, young people and their parents across Dorset.

CEO Marianne Storey launches DMYH

Chief Executive Officer of Dorset Mind, Marianne Storey, said, “This is a first for Dorset and a programme that has considerable demand. Teaching young people how to live their lives mentally healthy, preventing difficulties, building resilience and catching mental health problems early, before they have a chance to mature in later life is essential. Alarmingly, over seventy per cent of children and adolescents who experience a mental health condition, acute or otherwise, don’t receive the proper support they need. Our aim is to stop this in its tracks. We must ensure our children and young people have a future that is free of the shackles of mental health difficulties.

Local NHS statutory mental services are struggling. Prevention, early intervention and sustained support for children and young people are paramount. Services like CAMHS are working really hard to help young people in desperate need. Our aim is for Dorset Mind Your Head to compliment the great work CAMHS is doing, whilst also supporting young people before and after there is a need for specialist support.

One in ten young people have a diagnosable mental health condition and over half of adult mental health problems start before the age of fourteen so we know that there is a real need locally. The good news is that children and young people are incredibly self-aware and are open to talking about their mental health, much more than we find in adults. We build on this enthusiasm and help increase their understanding of mental health problems, helping them cope with difficult emotions and conditions such as anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, body image, self-image, trauma, eating disorders, self-harming behaviours and social isolation.”

How did Dorset Mind Your Head evolve?

Dorset Mind Your Head has been designed and developed in collaboration with schoolteachers, children, young people and CAMHS (NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) professionals.

Phil Keen, Head Teacher at Corfe Hills School said, “We are delighted to be working with Dorset Mind. The collaborative work involved with Dorset Mind Your Head has been really beneficial to our students and us. It has both raised wider awareness of mental health issues and provided targeted intervention for individuals.”

Storey continues, “Thanks to the success of our pilot scheme earlier this year, we have worked very closely with children, young people, parents and senior teaching staff to ensure Dorset Mind Your Head meets the specific needs of the people that are using our services. One of the most important elements of this campaign has been developing a user friendly website which launches today, as well as resources that are practical for a classroom setting and can also help parents at home.”

David Upshall Insurance Services of Dorchester and six local Rotary International Clubs including The Rotary Club of Bournemouth, Bournemouth East Cliff, Bournemouth North, Christchurch, Poole Bay and Westbourne have helped fund the initial phase of the campaign. A high priority for Dorset Mind is fundraising for this project. They are keen to work with partners who would like to raise new monies to ensure the continued success of Dorset Mind Your Head.

What support groups are available?

Dorset Mind Your Head also offers five free support groups as follows:

  1. Connected Minds, Blandford. A 6-week gentle activity based support group designed to help improve school attendance (for ages 11–16 – referral only).
  2. Connected Minds, Dorchester. A 6-week gentle activity based support group designed to help improve school attendance (for ages 11–16 – referral only)
  3. Wellbeing Group, Dorchester. Drop in support group that helps develop emotional awareness and wellbeing (open to anyone aged 13–16)
  4. Drop In Counselling, Dorchester. One to one counselling 30 minute sessions (for ages 11–24)
  5. Drop In Counselling, Wareham. One to one counselling 30 minute sessions (for ages 11–24)

Please visit www.dorsetmindyourhead.co.uk for times, details and locations.

Dorset Mind Your Head is available for any secondary school, college, youth centre or university in the Dorset area. If you would like to participate, partner, advocate, sponsor or fundraise please contact: dmyh@dorsetmind.uk.

DMYH is looking for children and young people to blog and help them spread mental health awareness. Please send your stories to dmyh@dorsetmind.uk.

Dorset Mind CEO, Marianne Storey concludes, “Children and young people are particularly assertive about protecting their mental health. We must make the most of their keenness to participate in mental health conversations. They want to be involved, listened to, and have a say in making their own decisions. They want to be empowered and treated equally. It’s our duty to give them the respect they deserve and provide them with the support they need.”

For more information, please visit www.dorsetmindyourhead.co.uk.