The City of Bristol is a brilliantly diverse and culturally rich city – the largest in the South West (and the seventh largest in the UK) - but some of its communities and neighbourhoods are experiencing persistent poverty, inequality and poor health; in fact almost 16% of its residents live in one of the most deprived areas of England. And across the UK, both men and women in the poorest one fifth of the population are twice as likely to be at risk of developing mental illness.
Bristol has also seen a rapid growth in child population in the last decade with one of the highest in the country. This has significant implications for services within the health, care and education system. Additionally, many of these children are growing up in households unable to afford basic necessities such as food and heating. Bristol Mental Health charity reports that for half of children with mental illness, symptoms are already present by the age of 14, providing a critical opportunity for early intervention and support which could help prevent 25 – 50% of adult mental illness.
The city is also seeing GP’s reporting a 44% increase in patients experiencing mental health problems (since 2015 when records began) with more than 36,657 unable to work or only with certain conditions out of a population of around 464,000.
However, mental health charity Rethink Mental Health has explained that whilst there has been a recent increase, this might be linked to the fact that people feel more comfortable talking about their mental health – which is a positive thing.
Sadly though, less than 25% of people with a diagnosed mental illness will actually receive treatment for it. This leaves a huge number of people with mental health problems unable to access the support they need. Thankfully in Bristol there are a number of social enterprises who are helping to plug this gap by providing additional mental health support to those in need.
So this Mental Health Awareness week we are shining the spotlight on two social enterprises in Bristol who Resonance works with through the South West Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund, and who support people with poor mental health.
To date the South West SITR Fund has invested over £2.5 million, into 16 social enterprises in the region. Many of these social enterprises provide vital mental health support services in the South West so we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate some of their outstanding work. We spoke to Bristol-based Leading Lights and the National Centre for Integrative Medicine about how they are having to adapt the services they off as a result of COVID-19:
Leading Lights offers a range of bespoke wellbeing programmes for children and young people affected by mental health issues which leave them socially isolated. Director of Leading Lights, Sarah Louise Hopkins explains:
“At Leading Lights, we are on mission to ensure that no child or family has to lose out on a world of potential because of social, emotional and mental health needs. We run bespoke specialist support for children, young people and families across Bristol and London, whose lives have been impacted by their mental health. In response to covid-19 and the increased pressure on vulnerable young people and families, we knew that we needed to change the way that services were delivered to meet the increased need for specialist support. That is why we have launched a children's and parent's telephone helpline and specialist mental health online mentoring for primary and secondary age children and young people. For us, it's about treating each child, young person and family in a holistic way so that they feel truly cared for and supported in a meaningful way. Basically, it's about bringing love, not just support. About always thinking what more can we do to make a lasting difference to each and every young person we support.
“Whilst every child we see is affected differently, common issues that we see involve problems accessing school, severe social isolation and issues with self-esteem which can lead to difficulties leaving the house or even their rooms, sometimes for months. Sometimes this is to do with trauma, sometimes it's to do with an ongoing mental health need, every child we work with is different, but what we always notice is how amazingly talented and filled with dreams and potential they are. Some of the children we work with have commented that the current government enforced lockdown has made them feel 'more like other children', as they already felt locked down and excluded, which is a heart-breaking testimony to the extreme barriers that they were already facing. No child or young person should feel in a perpetual state of lockdown. This is why we keep working as hard as we do.”
National Centre For Integrative Medicine
The National Centre For Integrative Medicine provides holistic services to individuals to help support their health and wellbeing and to live well with long-term conditions. CEO & Holistic Doctor Elizabeth Thompson said:
“During the current COVID-19 crisis, with anxiety levels at an all-time high and the sense of isolation from family and friends affecting so many of us, NCIM continue to offer support via online consultations. We have launched a series of free webinars with our Holistic Doctor team, looking at how we can 'unlock lockdown' by boosting our health and immunity with integrative healthcare approaches (for example mindfulness, nutrition, exercise, time in nature). To support our Keyworkers, which not only includes our amazing NHS staff, but teachers, bus drivers, shop workers and more, we are offering our Holistic Doctor service at a low cost of £20/£10 - creating a personalised heath plan to address your mental, emotional and physical support needs.
“Integrative Medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare, which means good mental health is an essential part of our overall sense of wellbeing. By combining conventional, lifestyle and holistic approaches, integrative healthcare empowers the person to take control of their wellbeing. And in fact, everyone is welcome to join us for our free webinars to find out more!”
For more information about investing in our SITR Funds click here.
If you’re a social enterprise based in the South West and are looking for investment click here.
Sign up today and keep up to date with all our latest social impact news, innovations and insights so you never miss a thing.
Resonance Limited is a company registered in England and Wales no. 04418625
Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
Disclaimer: This website does not contain, constitute, nor does it form part of, an offer to sell or purchase or a solicitation of an offer to sell or purchase, any securities, investments or financial instruments referred to herein or to enter into any other transaction described herein. Resonance is not providing, and will not provide, any investment advice or recommendation (personal or otherwise) to you in relation to any securities, investments or financial instruments or transactions described herein. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this website, neither Resonance nor its officers accept any liability for its contents or for any errors or omissions.