Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week
In the last 25 years, rates of depression and anxiety amongst young people have increased by 70%. 50% of mental illness in adult life (excluding dementia) starts before 15, and 75% before 18. The need for effective early interventions in the lives of these children and young people who are struggling with mental ill-health is one of the most pressing social needs in Kent and Medway today. The voluntary sector is well-placed to meet this need with bespoke, friendly, accessible services, and KCF has responded to this by channelling funding into this area.
In the last financial year, we made over 100 grants to organisations working to improve children’s mental health and wellbeing, ranging from bereavement support to children who have recently lost a loved one in Maidstone and Mid Kent to a cookery-based intervention for young adults with low confidence and self-esteem in East Kent.
Case Study: Dandelion Time, Maidstone
Dandelion Time received a grant of £5,000 from Kent Community Foundation last year. They support children experiencing serious emotional and behavioural difficulties, resulting from trauma, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect or domestic violence. It delivers individually tailored programmes of practically-based therapeutic sessions, combining farm and natural craft activities with one-to-one emotional support. Children attend one day per week with a carer for 10-15 weeks, engaging in family and small group sessions at their centre and farm. Dandelion Time’s programme has supported 85 children over the last year. The programme had a really positive impact on the psychological wellbeing, self-esteem, confidence and resilience of the children, helping them to cope better with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks.
Jasmine, aged 10: "The normal therapies I’d been to were just sitting in an office and talking. I actually thought it made me worse because they just kept mentioning it. They were pushing me too hard. When I first turned up I saw the guinea pigs and thought ‘yes’ this is my place, this is my home. Stroking the donkeys made me feel calm. Being at Dandelion Time gave me something to think about when I was nervous, it gave me something to put my mind in to rather than thinking about the worries. I didn’t even know I had fears any more. The best 10 weeks of my life was here."