Published: February 8, 2022 | Updated: February 9, 2022

Dorchester Middle School and Dorset Mind team up for Children’s Mental Health Week

Left to right: Abby Souter, DMYH Practitioner; Gemma Walbridge, Coordination and Administration Assistant; Grace Climie, DMYH Practitioner.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A series of mental health workshops and activities focusing on building resilience are being held at Dorchester Middle School to mark Children’s Mental Health Week.

They’re being organised by Dorset Mind charity’s children and young people division – ‘Dorset Mind Your Head’ (DMYH).

Children’s Mental Health Week began on Monday February 7, and continues through until Sunday, February 13.

On Saturday, February 12, the school is encouraging staff, students, and parents to take part in The Great Field Park Run.

The event will raise vital funds to help the charity continue its work supporting vulnerable young people. 

It’s widely acknowledged that most young people do not get the treatment they need.

In the pandemic, the problem escalated due to problems accessing support.

Young Minds recently reported a 134 per cent increase of referrals to mental health services for under 18s between June and April 2021. 

As much as they try to help,  demand for statutory services is overwhelming.

There are currently 374,000 young people on the official NHS UK waiting list for support. 

But charities such as Dorset Mind can help.

Linda O’Sullivan, Dorset Mind’s new CEO, pictured left, said: “The isolation and restrictions of lockdown proved detrimental for young people’s mental health as they were denied contact with their peers and network of support.  

“We found that young people struggled to connect with online support, but they still required help at their time of need – and without long waiting times.

“As a direct response to this demand, DMYH created a weekly Wellbeing Check-in service which allows vulnerable children the platform to speak to someone regularly about their mental health.

“This service continues today.

“We’re exceedingly grateful to the funding support we receive from grant organisations and the efforts of our local communities and schools like Dorchester Middle School.

“This enables us to continue delivering our programme free of charge.”

Dr Andrew Mayers, pictured right, Dorset Mind Patron and a mental health expert at Bournemouth University, said “Dorset Mind Your Head is one of the success stories at Dorset Mind.

“As an ambassador for children’s mental health, I welcome the work that is done to support young people’s wellbeing across Dorset.

“The recent data from Young Minds is a matter of concern, but I am confident that we are well placed at Dorset Mind to meet that challenge.

“Having support like this from Dorchester Middle School will help us achieve that.” 

Since 2018, DMYH has supported over 70 of 173 schools in Dorset, educating young people on how to look after their mental health – and parents, carers, and teachers on how to support them.

So far, DMYH has reached more than 24,000 young people within Dorset which would not be made possible without funding. 

DMYH’s programme of education and wellbeing support is made possible with generous funding from:

  • The National Lottery
  • BBC Children in Need
  • The Freemasons Foundation
  • Dorset Health Trust. 

During Children’s Mental Health Week, DMYH wishes to encourage people in Dorset to help raise awareness and fundraise for its mental health services.

If you’d like to make a donation, please click here.

Find out more about DMYH’s range of 1-2-1 and group support and education by clicking here.