Marking Mental Health Awareness Week

In our blog posts, we often talk about the importance of employee’s mental wellbeing in the work place. To mark Mental Health Awareness week, we’re looking at the mental wellbeing of future employees – our children.

Ten per cent of children and young adults (aged 5-16) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. But seventy per cent of children and adolescents who experience mental health issues don’t receive appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

These statistics are something that Hitchin-based charity GRIT (Growing Resilience in Teens) is determined to improve.

Thinking outside the box

GRIT offers a programme that combines group therapy with boxing to support young people in managing their emotions. Adolescence is a challenging time for a lot of young people and recent studies show that young people are less happy than ever before, with 16 per cent of 14-year-olds reporting self-harm in the previous year. Failure to regulate emotions as an adult can cause debilitating mental health problems. GRIT aims to offer the necessary support at an early stage, so that later issues can be avoided.

This is a charity very close to Cognition24’s heart. As a Pledge 1% partner, head of marketing, Vicky Bradford, already donates 1% of her time to GRIT. Working with founder Dr Louise Randall, Vicky uses her expertise to help promote awareness of the charity by helping to growing its social media presence but also undertaking a number of physical challenges (in 2019 Vicky also completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks).

Speak with your feet

Now Vicky’s taken the phrase ‘speak with your feet’ literally by walking 52km in the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge along with a group of close friends to raise enough money to buy a portable boxing ring. The ring will be taken into schools to offer students the opportunity to experience how using boxing and therapy together can help them realise their inner and outer strength.

The walk took 14.5 very long hours. But Vicky’s determination to help GRIT got her through the physically gruelling challenge. ‘I just kept thinking of my children,’ Vicky says. ‘I have two teenage daughters, so am well aware of the stress they and their friends are under. The constant pressure of social media, the anxieties that lockdown and living through a pandemic created, the fear of taking exams without having attended full time education for two years are all additional strains teenagers have to cope with nowadays. It’s not surprising so many of them are struggling mentally. And the stats we read about only relate to the children who have been identified as having an issue. There will be many more out there. That’s why getting out to the schools is so crucial and why GRIT’s portable boxing ring will be such a valuable resource.’

65f4aafe 143c 4f14 bc0d 01fefd5a2aa3Dr Randall added: ‘GRIT is all about dealing with adversity and using it to create opportunities for personal development. We’re incredibly grateful to this group for voluntarily facing adversity by doing such a challenge and using it to raise funds for GRIT. Our income’s been significantly impacted over the last couple of years due to the pandemic. It’s through the generosity of fundraising like this that we’ve been able to keep the charity going, enabling us to support young people in turning their lives around.’

If you’d like to sponsor Vicky and help raise money for GRIT, please visit https://bit.ly/3l0REbo For more information about the GRIT programme, visit www.gritcharity.org

For more information about Pledge 1%, visit www.pledge1percent.org.