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Mental Health for Children Gets Positive Mindset from Mindstars


Mindstars Provide Young People with Positive Mind Set


A North Shields organisation that supports the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people has been awarded funding which will help hundreds of families cope with the stress and anxiety associated with poor mental health.


Rebecca Hetherington and Marisa May set up Mindstars in 2020 following their own personal and professional experiences of mental health. They realised that there was a

gap in children's mental health provision and decided to do what they could themselves to make a difference to children in the area.


Starting originally with supplying 500 children wellbeing packs throughout lockdown, they then designed mental health workbooks and supplied 9,000 of these throughout the North East which helped countless children and parents cope with their own personal battles against the rising tide of mental health problems.


Since those early days, Mindstars have seen demand for their work escalate and they have risen to the challenge by adapting, creating a Hub in the heart of North Shields, and creating activities and workshops to ensure that help is available to every family that needs it.


Summer holiday activity clubs, food programmes for those children that are entitled to free school meals, and outdoor activities including surfing and educational visits have also kept the pair busy but perhaps their biggest impact has been seen within the schools that they work. Their digital mental health workshops have made a significant impact on the local community and raised their profile and reputation for tackling what is essentially a mental health epidemic.


Now, thanks to funding from the National Lottery and the NHS Primary Care Networks in North Shields and Wallsend, they are running a new three year long mental health programme. This will benefit 40 children each week over a rolling ten-week period who will receive full support in psychoeducation and give them the tools that they need as well as support for their parents or guardians.


"Having the parents involved in the programme is vital, they need support on how to manage situations just as much as the children. It is this full family approach that will create long lasting change and reduce the mental health crisis they are facing, "said Marisa.


"This is our biggest contract to date, and it means that we are going to be able to help

hundreds of families every year in North Tyneside who would perhaps otherwise have nowhere else to turn or be faced with waiting lists of up to two years.  We feel that our original gut feeling to make a systemic change in support services for mental health has now been recognised and that our work will continue thanks to the funding which will also help us to employ more staff."


Rebecca agreed: "We believe that no child should have to reach a mental health crisis before they have access to help and support.  Mental health provision for children is stretched to say the least and if we can take some of the burden away from the statutory bodies then everyone benefits. The satisfaction we get from helping children and their families makes all the hard work worthwhile.We're very grateful to our funders."


Duncan Nicholson, Head of North East, and Cumbria region of the National Lottery Community Fund said:


"Thanks to National Lottery players we are delighted to have been able to support Mindstars and their valuable work supporting families and children's mental health and well-being. Our funding will enable Mindstars to provide services for the most vulnerable and most in need helping their clients to cope with the challenges they face."




Photo 1 on steps shows: L to R Marisa, Rebecca, Debby Flannery and Karen Addison from National Lottery Community Fund (The Bigger Picture Agency)


Photo 2 on bench shows L to R Debby Flannery and Karen Addison from National Lottery Community Fund, Rebecca and Marisa (The Bigger Picture Agency)


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