Last week, we were honoured to receive a Civic Community Award for the contribution the Elliott Holmes Memorial Fund has made to the community of Gravesham. To say this was a bittersweet moment is a huge underestimate of the mixed emotions we went through on the night, due to the sad circumstances in which we set up the Elliott Holmes Memorial Fund.
Since April 2022 we have approved funding and given 78 young people, fast, direct access to mental health counselling. It is true to say we could not possibly have achieved this without the support and endless dedication from Tina Walker, Terri-Ann Fairclough, Dr Bhargawa Vasudaven DL and Scott Thomas; therefore we have accepted this on behalf of them and everyone who has helped make this happen, including the community who have supported us. Honestly, there are too many people to thank, but if you take a look at our website, most have been listed.
Addressing mental health struggles in our young people is a huge task, and let’s not forget, the many organisations in the Borough who are also playing their part in helping to fight the Mental Health crisis we are experiencing in our young people today. If you base it on the national figures for 2022, we have 1,600 young people, aged 13-18, with probably mental health disorders, with 75 % of those not being able to access the help they need – that’s currently 1,200. And if you find those figures unbelieveable, a school pastoral support I spoke to recently believes the figure is higher.
We now have 10 local BACP Mental Health Counsellors who have partnered with us, to give Gravesham something unique, something special. 40% of young people who contact us have been assessed as having ‘Severe psychological distress’ and most simply cannot access support elsewhere. We are unique in accepting and funding self-referrals, giving them fast, direct access to face-to-face mental health support.
Through our events we can fund about 30 young people a year. The community, by running their own events and business sponsorship has helped an additional 48 – and nearly all booked in within 48 hours. We have the capacity to help 120 by the end of the year, we can do this, but only with more support from the community and businesses. If you can help raise funds, please do get in touch, or alternatively you can make a donation via our JustGiving page. We are run entirely by volunteers and 100% of the money donated goes to fund counselling.