The Evening Standard has launched a new campaign to address the rising mental health crisis among young people in the wake of the pandemic.
Young London SOS kicked off with a front-page address from editor Emily Sheffield to raise awareness and urge readers to donate to their appeal in partnership with Place2Be, the UK’s leading provider of schools-based mental health services.
The campaign follows a special investigation by the paper which revealed 500,000 children and teenagers who had no mental health problems before Covid-19 need support in 2021, on top of the one in six already identified by the NHS.
The Standard’s investigation led by campaigns editor David Cohen revealed a 109 per cent rise in reported incidents of self-harm and a 68 per cent rise in suicidal thoughts in secondary school pupils during the 2020 autumn term.
‘The time to act is now’, said Sheffield as the paper kickstarted the appeal with a £33,000 grant from the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund. The amount will cover a whole school service to a Place2Be partner school while every £100 donated from readers will deliver a service to a vulnerable child for a year.
BBC broadcaster Kate Silverton backed the campaign as she revealed her commitment to training as a children’s counsellor with Place2Be. The charity provides services such as one-to-one counselling and a ‘Place2Talk’ lunchtime self-referral service which any child can access.
Announcing the campaign, Emily Sheffield said: “The Evening Standard is delighted to partner with Place2Be for our new appeal, Young London SOS. Every penny raise during this appeal will help them to tackle the growing mental health crisis in our schools as a result of the pandemic. The time for action is now – we thank you for your support.”
David Cohen added: “As the country continues its fight against COVID-19, we must tackle this rising issue now. It is a great privilege for us all to be able to support brilliant charities like Place2Be as they work to make the future that bit brighter.”
The Standard’s campaign comes alongside widespread work by newspaper titles to highlight the effect of the coronavirus crisis on mental wellbeing.
Young London SOS follows the Evening Standard’s Food for London Now appeal, in partnership with The Felix Project, which in December 2020 surpassed its £10m target and delivered 20 million meals to vulnerable people, frontline charities and NHS hospitals.
To contribute to Young London SOS, please click here.