Thematic funding spotlight:

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week has recently drawn a focus onto the difficulties many people are facing during the COVID lockdown and the increasing demand for charity services to help them cope.

Individual donors and foundations are well placed now to provide fast, flexible funding for a variety of charitable organisations providing key mental health support services which are currently struggling to keep up with the increased demand.

The response from the sector has had two aspects, which are covered in this article : firstly, helping individuals struggling with lockdown, and secondly, supporting key workers.

The Government recently announced a £5 million fund for organisations providing mental health support, and guidance for parents issued through Public Health England and administered by Mind. However, many mental health organisations believe that this falls well short of meeting the scale of need [1]. While many voluntary sector providers have been quick to adapt to the changing landscape – moving support online, and using innovative approaches to safe service delivery – there remain gaps in infrastructure and funding which threaten the long term sustainability of these efforts says YoungMinds.

Increased demands on charitable services

At the start of May, mental health charity Mind, found in a survey that:

  • Almost a quarter of people who tried to access mental health support had failed to get any help – facing cancelled appointments, difficulty getting through to their GP or Community Mental Health Team, being turned away by crisis services and issues accessing digital alternatives.
  • Of those who accessed support, 49% did so through the NHS. 27% accessed support through a private provider and 16% through charities. 4% accessed support through community support groups, or their workplace – 7%.
  • When people did not seek help, 41% said it was because they did not think their issues were important enough.

Many are relying on organisations like Mind to get the help they urgently need – with 20% of those who have sought support turning to charities and community groups. Mind’s services have seen unprecedented demand, with more than a million people accessing its online information on coronavirus and mental health, and a surge in the number of people seeking support through its online community since the crisis began.

This increase in demand and the struggling capacity of organisations highlights the need for financial support for many of these key organisations providing support. We have included some of the open appeals for funding from mental health related causes at the foot of this article with more to be found in the ‘Appeals’ section of this guide.

Supporting mental health in key frontline workers

Mind, SamaritansShoutHospice UK and The Royal Foundation have come together to launch Our Frontline, a combination of 1-2-1 support and online resources for NHS workers, carers, the Blue Light emergency services and key workers. Frontline staff and key-workers can call or text a trained volunteer and access specially developed online resources, toolkits and advice to support their mental health and emotional wellbeing through this challenging time.

This support is important right now. But it will be equally critical in the months ahead, when we want to make sure that we rebuild and recover the mental health of our frontline workers, alongside our economy and communities.

Visit Our Frontline to find out more. Support the campaign by following @OurFrontlineUK on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Young People & Mental Health – An open letter to Government

Children and Young people’s mental health charity YoungMindstogether with over 30 other organisations has written to the UK Government to call attention to limiting the long-term impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health.

One in eight children and young people already have a diagnosable mental health condition, and research suggests that the majority of those believe that the pressures created by the crisis are exacerbating their needs. any young people who were receiving some form of mental health treatment before the crisis are now receiving reduced support or no support at all.

The open letter calls on Government to:

  • Offer immediate emergency funding to increase young people’s and families’ access to mental health support through youth organisations charities and helplines; and ensure that clear routes are available for young people to access NHS mental health services while restrictions are in place.
  • Launch a national campaign to reach 10 million children and young people, and their families, to promote positive approaches for maintaining mental wellbeing, working alongside the voluntary sector to do so.
  • Deliver a wellbeing support package for schools, enabling them to prioritise wellbeing now and over the next academic year, and providing guidance and resources on how to manage transitions when it is safe for students to return to school.
  • Commit to introducing additional support for young people’s mental health as we move out of the pandemic to meet rising demand, including re-committing to the measures outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan in full and funding additional early intervention services.
  • Launch a cross-government strategy for young people’s mental health, taking a ‘young people’s wellbeing in all policies’ approach to future policy-making and addressing inequalities that can contribute towards worse mental health

Read more about the open letter here…

Or to contact the YoungMinds media team:

0203 861 2072 (during office hours)
07494512742 (outside office hours)


Mind has an open appeal which you can access here.

Mental Health UK has a series of urgent appeals that cover a range of mental health related areas from funding for PPE, to funding Covid-19 mental health workers and more. You can find these appeals on their website here.

The Samaritans is facing significant challenges with maintaining its volunteer run helpline and needs support to continue its work. Their appeal can be found here.

[1] Read more here…