Online mental health mentors

  • Teenagers become mentors to help those suffering with mental health on the website MindFull.

    On the website MindFull people are able to mentor and help other suffering with mental health issues. Volunteers give advice and support to others online. Sixteen year old Jessica volunteers and says that "It's quite nice to know the person you're speaking to has been through it themselves, so they understand what you're going through and won't be flippant or dismissive," reported by BBC Newsbeat. 

    Self Portrait 2

    The site launched in July for eleven to seventeen year olds and after another £500,000 funded by the government will be open to eighteen to 25 year olds.

    Chris Leaman from the charity Young Minds has called MindFull "brilliant" however there is still a wider problem that won't solve itself. Earlier this year it was revealed that there have been cuts to local mental health services across England.

    "It's harder to do online treatment for the more serious cases, so yes MindFull will be saying actually 'let's get you in touch with a local service'," says Chris. "Those services are finding it incredibly tough. There's massive budgetary pressures and an increase in demand."

    Nick Hurd, a youth minister insists that MindFull shouldn't be seen as a cheaper replacement for face-to-face counselling and therapy: "This must be seen as complimenting the support that's available through the NHS. We all know there's pressure on money, but mental health is a growing issue and we want to support people at a younger age."

    Jess says until recently her own experience of seeking treatment has been "really negative", which she puts down to a lack of funding.

    She's worried things won't change until education is better: "In school we never learn about mental health even though it's the illness you're most likely to get as a teenager. Some of my friends have been great and treated me in the way they would if I was physically ill. Others, who I probably wouldn't describe as friends any more, have made snide comments about it."

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