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Young London SOS: Early intervention for mental health is key. That’s why the time to act is now

Emily Sheffield
·2-min read
 (Natasha Pszenicki)
(Natasha Pszenicki)

Dear Londoners,

Half of all people who develop lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by age 14, and experts say that early intervention is key.

We all know that many Londoners are struggling right now and that includes our children and teenagers. That is why today the Evening Standard launches a new campaign — Young London SOS — to address the rising crisis in mental health among young people in the wake of the pandemic.

In our special investigation led by our campaigns editor, David Cohen, we revealed the alarming scale of the situation: 500,000 children and teenagers who had no mental health problems before Covid-19 now need mental health support.

These figures come on top of the one in six already identified by the NHS.

Headteachers say “it’s the worst it has been and getting worse”. That is why we have teamed up with Place2Be, the UK’s leading provider of schools-based mental health services.

The charity is in 150 primary and secondary schools in London but its aim is to double the number of pupils they reach by 2025 and — given the urgency of the situation — we want to turbo-charge this effort with you, our readers.

We are all proud Londoners and we care about our citizens and neighbours — as was so powerfully demonstrated in the first lockdown last year. It costs £33,000 to put a Place2Be team of experts and counsellors into one additional school for one year, directly engaging, on average, one third of the pupils, as well as the teachers and parents.

Since this lockdown began they have immediately pivoted their care online as well, meaning they have not abandoned the thousands of teenagers badly in need of it.

We are calling on you, as well as corporates and charitable foundations, to donate generously. Every £100 you give could deliver a whole school service to one vulnerable child for one year.

To kickstart our campaign, we have secured a £33,000 grant “in principle” from the endowment of the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund.

It is a tragedy that so many teenagers feel they have to go through overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression, or self-harm, alone, when help could be at hand.

Let’s give young people the support they need. The time to act is now.

Emily Sheffield

Editor, Evening Standard

Donate today

You can support the Young London SOS campaign by donating to Place2Be HERE

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