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Mental health charity awarded £450k to launch new youth programme in Maidstone

Friday 15th March 2019

A MENTAL health charity has been awarded £450,000 to support a programme targeting school children in Maidstone, writes Jade Schopman.

Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind’s new Youth Support Programme is launching on April 1 and will look at issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.

The charity says children are having problems associated with parents parting, domestic violence, sibling issues and school work.

It will hope to reach children by holding sessions in schools.

Marketing assistant Tom Fishenden said: “The course will be a mixture of activities. We already have a wellbeing café in Maidstone but we are planning on introducing a new one with a youth focus.

“We are also offering monthly support groups, and mental health first aid training for issues like depression, anxiety and stress.

CEO Julie Blackmore said: “We are seeing an increase in primary school-aged children with signs of anxiety. That’s why we are going to schools across Maidstone to address it at an early age.

“Our programme aims to reach children from ages eight to 18, with cognitive behaviour therapy. ”

Wellbeing worker, Yvonne Irvin said: “Children of primary school age do not yet understand their emotions, so they struggle with how to deal with big changes.”

The first year of the course will be in Maidstone, but the scheme will provide the area with youth support for the next five years.

The scheme was sponsored by the National Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund, after a nine month long application was approved.

Additional staff vacancies will be required including a new manager to oversee the project, as well as opportunities for apprentice schemes.