Bermondsey Charity, YoungMinds receives welcome boost during pandemic.


Parents of thousands of young people who are struggling with their mental health will be able to get help from trained advisors and volunteers thanks to a major grant from London Masons to YoungMinds mental health charity. The £85,000 grant to YoungMinds will support their free Parents Helpline.

The helpline is open Monday-Friday 9am to 4pm, however, parents can contact the helpline outside of normal operating hours via email. It is staffed by 18 volunteers, five Helpline Advisers and two Team Leaders, alongside 23 mental health Professional Advisers. The volunteers who answer the initial calls help parents to understand their child’s behaviour and also give practical advice on how to get support.

Last year the helpline answered nearly 8,000 calls and supported over 4,000 parents through their email service. They were also able to give nearly 3,000 parents a 50-minute call-back with a trained mental health professional adviser. When a young person does reach out for support with their mental health, they often face barriers such as long waiting times and high thresholds. YoungMinds’ Parents Helpline frequently hears from parents who say that their child’s problems have got worse waiting for mental health support.

The pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been a time of great anxiety for everyone, including young people. In a recent survey by YoungMinds, 83 per cent of young people with mental health needs said that the pandemic and the restrictions on movement had made their mental health worse. The Helpline has heard from many parents worried about the impact of the pandemic on their child’s mental health.

Vanessa Longley, Director of Fundraising at YoungMinds, said: “We’re really grateful to London Freemasons for their generous grant, which will help us to give vital support to thousands of parents and carers of young people struggling with their mental health across the capital. Being able to talk to people who understand what families are going through and who can provide practical advice can make all the difference.”

London Masons Adrian Fox commented: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help with this vital service. There are thousands of parents out there who desperately need help to cope with the mental health issues their children are suffering from. YoungMinds are providing an essential service that offers a lifeline to parents and children alike. This grant follows on from a recent £2.5 Million to fund two ultra-high aerial platforms, six rapid response vehicles and four bariatric stretchers and earlier generous donations of £3 million to Bart’s hospital for the purchase of a Cyberknife and £2 million donation towards the second London Air Ambulance, all of which contribute to saving lives right across this great capital city.” The grant from London Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.