Health | Youth

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and MIND

An innovative partnership to support the mental health of secondary school communities across the country.

Young women learning together

The Foundation has always supported practical and proactive work to tackle societal issues. We also appreciate organisations working in partnership. This allows their combined skills and resources to achieve more than each organisation could individually. We were delighted therefore to support a partnership between two of the UK’s major mental health charities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on young people. 

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFC) exists to improve the mental health of children, young people and their families. They carry out research to evaluate, improve and design new treatments and services for young people. They also train mental health professionals in how best to support young people. Their Mentally Healthy Schools website has over 1 million users in 195 countries and their Schools in Mind network reaches over 30,000 school professionals across the UK. 

The Anna Freud Centre and MIND are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of school communities across the country. We recognise and value the pivotal role schools play in creating a culture of resilience. We hope by offering them this service, we can bring about lasting, sustainable change to the whole school community to ensure young people get the help they need, when they need it.

MIND is the largest provider of community mental health support in England and Wales. Their 110 local MIND groups support the mental health of over 1.5 employees of organisations each year. MIND also provides a range of advice and guidance on all aspects of mental health online.  

Together, AFC and MIND created the Schools and Colleges Early Support Service (SCESS). The new service responds to the enormous pressures the pandemic put on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. It provides support via video call which gives young people greater choice and flexibility to access mental health support when they need it. The SCESS also gives support and training to parents and teachers, all based on the two charities’ evidence-based work. 

Over three years, SCESS aims to support over 9,000 secondary school pupils, staff, parents and carers. The support will be provided in over 200 schools with no, or limited, mental health provision. The three-year programme had a budget over £4 million. AFC and MIND approached funders jointly so they could scale the programme as funds were raised. We appreciated the strength of their partnership and their swift approach to tackling a significant problem with their evidence-based approach. We made a lead gift of £500,000 to encourage other funders to support this important work. 

The Garfield Weston Foundation has shown incredible support to both our organisations and we were thrilled that they chose to become one of the first funders to back our new joint venture in schools. Its grant will enable us to help hundreds of children, parents and teachers with their mental health as we work our way through the pandemic, something that simply would not be possible without it.

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