A bittersweet moment as we reach 100 young people

Since funding started in April 2022, the Elliott Holmes Memorial Fund has given 100 young people in Gravesham, fast, direct access to mental health counselling.

Partnering with 10 local BACP Mental Health Counsellors, the Elliott Holmes Memorial Fund has given Gravesham a totally unique service – the opportunity for young people living in the borough to self-refer via a simple form on their website for face-to-face counselling – All 100 have been booked in within a matter of days. The service is promoted by working with local schools and through social media.

The simple model was started by Peter Scutts, who lost his 19-year-old stepson, Elliott, to suicide, in June 2020. “Early intervention is key, but it simply wasn’t happening”, he said.

Addressing the mental health struggles in our young people today is a huge task. Based on the national figures we now have 1,600 young people, aged 13-18, with a probably mental health disorder, living in Gravesham – that is 1 in 5 young people. With the NHS overwhelmed with demand, most will not be able to access the support they need. Peter commented, “We are living in a totally different world to the one 25 years ago. Technological advances and social media have changed the world, they have many positives but they have also impacted on young people’s mental health and contributed to the increase in demand.”

Peter said, “We could not possibly have achieved the level of support for these young people without the endless dedication from our team, the local community and the businesses who have supported us – honestly, there are too many people to thank individually.”

Money to fund the counselling has been raised through a variety of events, both by the organisation and the community. They have also received grants from Kent Community Foundation, the Lawson Endowment Trust and Landsec. The charity has the capacity to help at least 125 young people a year, but can only do this with more support from the community. If you can help raise funds by organising an event, please do get in touch, or alternatively you can make a donation via the link on their home page.

The Elliott Holmes Memorial Fund is a Not-for-Profit, Community Interest Company, run entirely by volunteers, with 100% of the money raised by the community going to fund counselling.