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New programme aiming to help young people’s mental health online

Nominet, the profit with a purpose company operating at the heart of the internet infrastructure, recently launched a new mental health programme called #RESET, which aims to increase the reach and impact of mental health services for young people.

RESET is part of Nominet’s public benefit activity to improve 1 million lives, and will provide grants totalling over £500,000 across some of the UK’s leading mental health and youth charities to provide support for over half a million young people a year.

The organisations receiving Nominet #RESET funding include The Mix, Chasing the Stigma, YoungMinds, stem4, Nightline Association, Barnardo’s and The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. They will deliver a range of activities, including improving signposting online, developing new digital products, digitally transforming their organisation to meet demand, and creating best-practice guidance for those developing digital mental health products for young people.

The programme follows Nominet research into Charities, Young People and Digital Mental Health services, an extensive sector mapping activity, and an expert panel event. This discovery process identified some key challenges: the growing pressure on mental health services, the increasingly digital channels through which young people seek support and information, and the current minimal overlap of trusted organisations delivering digital products and services for young people. As a result, Nominet has decided to focus its support in a number of key areas: directly supporting national charities to deliver digital mental health services, supporting quality improvements across services they offer, as well as improved signposting for young people.

Eleanor Bradley, MD of Registry Solutions and Public Benefit at Nominet says: “Demand for mental health services has risen dramatically in the last five years, and at the same time the channels young people use to seek support have migrated to digital. Our research showed that many expert charities offering targeted support for specific needs when young people are most vulnerable or in crisis are at risk of falling behind digitally or need help to amplify what they offer, and we want to support these organisations to be at the forefront of digital mental health service provision. As part of our commitment to public benefit, with a focus on driving initiatives that promote greater connectivity, inclusivity and security online, we believe our new funding programme #RESET will provide some much needed help – in essence, the resource to reset the mental health support system – where it is sorely required.”

Chris Martin, CEO at The Mix says: “We’ve seen a shocking rise in the number of young people contacting us around their mental health, so we are excited to be working with the Nominet #RESET mental health programme to scale The Mix’s impact on mental wellbeing. With their help, we will develop our triage tool to create more active referral points in the digital spaces where young people gather, deepen the use of our peer community and improve signposting from our online and helpline services to create better ongoing support journeys.”

Vanessa Longley, Director of Development at YoungMinds said: “We’re delighted to be supported by Nominet’s #RESET Mental Health Programme. The funding will help many more thousands of young people to find their way. Helping them access practical actionable information online when they need it, so we can reduce the number of young people reaching crisis point.”

Joe Martin, Trustee, Nightline Association comments: “We’re incredibly excited to be working with Nominet as part of the #RESET programme and genuinely believe the partnership will unlock better reach and quality of service for students across the U.K. who simply need a safe place to talk about how they’re feeling.”

Eleanor Bradley concludes: “Working with these organisations we’re focused on our #RESET funding positively impacting as many young people as possible – reaching over 600,000 by December 2020 and up to 3 million over the next three years – with online mental health services that really make a difference.”

The Nominet #RESET Mental Health Programme is providing funding based on an in-depth consultation with each of the national partners. Each partner will invest in the development and delivery of their activities over an 18-month period from December 2019. Nominet and its partners will share an impact and learning report each year to help others exploring the role of digital in this field.