MENTAL health campaigners have welcomed the news of more help being made available to young people in Bridport.

Charity Mind in Somerset has started new sessions to help people with mental health issues aged between 11 and 24-years-old, which will take place in Bridport Youth and Community Centre from next week.

Ros Kayes, chair of Bridport Youth and Community Centre and a trustee of Harmony mental health drop-in centre, said they were “delighted” when Mind in Somerset approached them about providing the sessions.

She said: “Children’s mental health has reached crisis point over the last two or three years, both because of the huge waiting list for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and because there is so much that impacts on the wellbeing of young people – exam stress, social media and expectations about body image, and of course young people go get distressed by what’s going on in the world.

“There is very little in schools to teach them about mental wellbeing and how to look after their mental health – despite physical health education being seen as a central part of the curriculum.

“That is why one in eight young people has a diagnosable mental illness and why one in four 13 to 24-year-olds self-harms.

“The youth centre was therefore delighted when Mind contacted us about providing a service in Bridport.

“They are very, very welcome and I think it will be a huge success.”

Kelvin Clayton, chair of Bridport Town Council’s environment and social wellbeing committee and a trustee of Bridport Youth and Community Centre, said that the mental health charity will be providing “a very important service”.

He said: “Bridport Youth and Community Centre has been very supportive of several mental health charities and is particularly pleased that it is now in a position to support young people’s mental health.

“Somerset Mind will be providing a very important service, as one in 10 young people have mental health issues and support has often only been provided in large towns and cities.

“However, the really important message is that there is no stigma or shame attached to having such issues. We all have mental health, as we all have physical health, and we all need support from time to time.”

The sessions will provide a safe, caring and stimulating space for young people and the two-hour sessions will include group discussion, one-to-ones, games, cooking and eating together.

The first session for 18 to 24-year-olds will be Monday, January 14 between 6pm and 8pm followed by the first session for 11 to 18-year-olds on January 21 from 6pm.

Mickey Hickman, Mind in Somerset youth services coordinator, said: “Effectively, the group is for young people with anxiety and stress issues.

“This is a rolling programme of structured interventions and social interaction.

“We hope that local GPs and pastoral care teams in school will identify possible candidates in the first instance.”

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