Four children in every classroom have a mental health disorder. 700 young people take their own lives each year, and suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged 5-19. Yet only a quarter of the young people who need support get it.
This was the background for the YMCA’s Changing Future’s campaign, which builds on the organisation’s 175 year legacy of support for young people in communities around the world.
With mental health a crisis for society in general and young people in particular, the Changing Futures campaign is a YMCA England and Wales programme developed with young people and targeting 11-18 year olds.
YMCA England and Wales supports local YMCA branches by representing the local voice on a national scale, fundraising on their behalf and partnering them to pilot new projects. Funding was available from the national body to support mental health counselling and education activities, but the YMCA needed an awareness campaign targeted at branches to drive uptake of the funding and support at the local level.
Happy Creative’s campaign collateral, which included posters, leaflets and social media graphics, has generated a hugely positive response from branches. With many YMCAs now signed up to deliver the service, Happy’s campaign is set to have a positive effect on young people’s mental health across the UK.
Speaking about the campaign and Happy’s contribution to it, Mike Vernon, National Project Coordinator of YMCA England & Wales said, “Last year, YMCAs impacted positively on the lives of 630,000 people in the UK, including 228,000 young people.”
“Mental health plays a key role in the lives of many of those who seek our help, and that’s why we wanted to run a programme specifically targeting young people’s mental health. Local branch take-up was the crucial measure of success for the Changing Future’s campaign and we have been delighted with the response, which I believe reflects the simple power of Happy’s work and the individual commitment of each branch towards the very important issue of mental health. We have worked with Happy on many projects within the past 10 years, and we look forward to continuing our relationship”
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