Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Poor mental health is a major problem for young people in Northern Ireland with recent research from University of Ulster finding that 78% of young people experience symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. Research by the Department of Health has found that Northern Ireland has much higher rates of depression among the general population than the UK mainland (about 20% higher than England and Wales). It is vitally important therefore that we take action to help our young people at an early age and give them skills and knowledge to enable them to cope with life's challenges.
Our Mood Matters Young People is a new interactive programme which we deliver in schools and other appropriate settings to young people in the 14-18 year age group. The programme gives participants vitally important knowledge about looking after their mental health and recognising the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. It also signposts participants to sources of help if they or someone they know is experiencing a mental health problem.
At present we deliver approximately 300 programmes in 75 schools across Northern Ireland reaching around 7000 young people. However we cannot meet current demand due to a lack of funding and have had to limit the amount of programmes that we can deliver in each school and on many occasions turn down requests for programme delivery. This is particularly frustrating due to the fact that many of these schools are deprived areas and pupils are more vulnerable to experiencing mental health problems that the general population.
Feedback from young people has been overwhelmingly positive with over 90% indicating that they were more likely to recognise signs and symptoms of poor mental and self help if experiencing poor mental health. A similar percentage indicated that as a result of attending the programme they were more motivated to take steps to look after their mental health.
All participants on the programme are given a Mood Matters booklet which they can work on after the session and share with their family and friends. It is estimated that in this way that there are approximately 4 indirect beneficiaries for every direct beneficiary.
We are seeking 24500 pounds to enable us to deliver a further 70 programmes at locations across Northern Ireland. This will enable us to reach approximately another 1700 young people. We will target schools in the 20% most deprived areas of Northern Ireland and ensure that there is a good geographic spread. We shall also target Secondary Schools (as opposed to Grammar Schools) where take-up of the programme has been historically lower. All participants will complete a post-programme questionnaire and we will analyse these provide a report at the end of the funding period.


I am proud of this project because it can and has made a great difference to the lives of many young people as it gives them knowledge and skills to enable them to look after their mental health. It also helps to break down some of stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental ill health.

Location: Northern Ireland, United Kingdom