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Mental health scheme to help Hull pupils ‘before they fall’

As pupils in Hull prepare to head back to the classroom for the start of another school year, a new mental health project is set to help them deal with their problems and worries after receiving a £498,902 grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s £75m HeadStart programme. 

The development funding means that young people aged 10-14 will take part in a pilot project over the next year. The local partnership will use this pilot to work up long term plans that could benefit from a multi-million pound share of HeadStart funding and will look at a range of issues, from bullying, body image and peer pressure, to exam stress and even the pressure of moving up from primary to secondary school.

A previous YouGov survey for the Big Lottery Fund revealed that 45 per cent of children aged 10-14 have reported being unable to sleep because of stress or worry, with fifty nine per cent saying they feel worried or sad at least once a week. However, only around 25 per cent of young people needing treatment for mental health problems actually receive it and usually only once they reach 18[1].

With this in mind, the Big Lottery Fund implemented its HeadStart programme, with the aim of developing ways to deal with child mental health issues before they become deep-rooted problems. As one of the selected HeadStart areas, the Hull partnership consulted extensively with 1,500 children and young people as well as parents, schools and other services and will now use its learning to run a pilot until December 2015.

The 13 schools taking part, including Newland School for GirlsGoes to different websiteChristopher Pickering Goes to different websiteandGriffin Primary SchoolsGoes to different website, will develop targeted support such as peer mentors for young people and parents, counselling, psychological support or structured 10 week programmes to reduce risk and build resilience. The pilot will also work in partnership with young people to develop digital tools including an app for support with cyber-bullying and other emotional health issues and a You Tube channel to improve access to online support which local young people identified as important.

The scheme is run by a partnership between Hull City CouncilGoes to different websiteHull Clinical Commissioning GroupGoes to different website, the schools, CAMHS and voluntary sector organisations including CornerhouseGoes to different websiteand Child DynamixGoes to different website.

Lyn Cole, Deputy England Director of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We know that around three young people in every classroom suffer from a clinically diagnosable mental health disorder and this is a desperately sad situation. HeadStart is all about catching our young people before they fall into a trap of mental and emotional turmoil that may affect them all though their lives. This development funding means that children in Hull will play an important role in helping other young people get emotional support at a key stage in their lives.”

Rachel Roberts, Assistant City Manager for Early Help and Commissioning, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to pilot work to improve children and young people’s emotional health in Hull. Mental and emotional health is incredibly important in children’s development and we know from research that mental illness in young people often develops from aged 14 onwards.

“We hope that through early help and intervention for children who are experiencing issues, we can build their emotional resilience and encourage them to talk about their problems before they develop into anything more serious. The Headstart programme will mean that children receive the right support at important stages of their lives.”

For more information on HeadStart please contact the press office on the details below.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500572
Twitter: @biglotteryfund #biglf
Facebook: to different website

Notes to editors

[1] - The Centre for Economic Performance’s Mental Health Policy Group, LSE: How Mental Health Illness Loses Out in the NHS (2012).


  • The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 the Fund has awarded close to £6bn.
  • The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was returned to the Good Causes
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, over £31 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
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