Wolverhampton was one of 12 areas invited to bid for support from the Big Lottery Fund's £75 million HeadStart programme to develop new services aimed at helping 10 to 14 year olds cope with the pressures of modern life.
HeadStart will target what is recognised as a key period in a child's life and seek to improve their resilience by giving young people the support and skills needed to cope with the difficulties they may experience at this time. This in turn will help prevent them from developing common mental health problems.
Wolverhampton City Council was initially awarded £10,000 to develop a detailed bid which, if successful, will see the city receive £500,000 to launch new services locally. If these services can then be shown to be having a positive impact on young people, Wolverhampton could then receive up to £10 million over the next few years to develop the services further.
Now young people and their parents and carers are being urged to help shape the final bid by completing a short online survey, where they will be asked to highlight the sort of help and support they think should be available to them.
Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Well-being, said: "Addressing mental health issues, particularly for children and young people, is a priority for us and so this is a fantastic opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of people in Wolverhampton.
"Nationally, only around a quarter of young people needing treatment for mental health problems actually receive it - and usually only once they reach 18 - meaning younger children are missing out on vital support. We want to change that and ensure that the help and support they need is available - and, just as importantly, they feel able to ask for it."
Councillor Val Gibson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, added: "We can make a huge difference to young people's lives by helping them develop better ways of coping with the pressures of modern life, improve their self esteem and make it easier to get the help and support they need.
"It's also important that they recognise when they may need help and support - and don't feel any stigma about asking for it.
"HeadStart will have a massive impact on the health and well being of our young people, and I'd urge them and their parents and carers to take a few moments and complete this survey, which will give us valuable information to shape this very important bid."
Young people can help by answering - anonymously - questions about their time and experience at school, their ability to access community services and their home life. Parents and carers are able to comment on what they think young people worry about, how their children cope with pressure and how they could be better supported.
Young people should visit Type=links;Linkid=3212;Title=HeadStart survey;Target=_blank;, while parents and carers can complete a survey at Type=links;Linkid=3213;Title=HeadStart survey - Parents and Carers;Target=_blank;. The closing date for comments is Friday 28 March, 2014.
Announcing the HeadStart programme last year Dharmendra Kanani, Big Lottery Fund England Director, said: "The Big Lottery Fund is investing £75 million to enable children to have a better chance of dealing with the knocks and setbacks in life which many adults take for granted.
"For many young people, how they feel about themselves; their self esteem, confidence or negative peer pressure can become deep troubling, take root and lead to crime, self harm or even suicide. But with the right support and access to help at this key transition stage of our lives we aim to show that young people can be given a HeadStart to lead happier, more fulfilling lives."
- released: Friday 7 March, 2014