Co-op and Mind announce further funding to expand wellbeing service for young LGBTQI+ people in East London

The Co-op, in partnership with Mind, have today announced further funding for a mental wellbeing service for young people, aged 17-24, in the LGBTQI+ community in East London.

Young Rainbow Minds, which is run by Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest, supports the mental wellbeing of young people in the LGBTQI+ community. Hackney was chosen as a location by Co-op and Mind, after it was identified as having high levels of inequality, using data from Co-op’s Community Wellbeing Index.

The service uses an innovative new approach called Radical Self Care, which includes teaching techniques such as setting boundaries and mindfulness to address some of the unique mental wellbeing experiences of young people in the LGBTQI+ community.

The Co-op, in partnership with Mind, funded the pilot service and following its success will continue to fund the service for a further year. The service will be expanded to work with Rainbow Noir to support LGBTQI+ people of colour and give young people the skills to support others in the community.

As part of its partnership with Mind (England and Wales), the Scottish Association of Mental Health (Scotland) and Inspire (Northern Ireland), Co-op is fundraising £8m to fund this type of new community services and has so far raised £6m. Over the next year, the Co-op will be holding more fundraising activities to achieve their target of raising £8m for Mind, SAMH and Inspire.

The partnership will support a minimum of 10,000 people to improve their resilience through 52 community services across the UK and share learnings, upskill communities and as we become clearer about the important role played by the community in mental wellbeing, advocate for public policy change to help many thousands more.

Mind’s 2021 survey of over 10,000 people – most of whom had pre-existing mental health problems – found that young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Since the first national lockdown 68% of young people reported that their mental health got worse.

Despite lockdown lifting, Co-op’s own recent major study revealed that 44% of 16 to 25-year-olds, who have experienced neutral or negative feelings in the last two weeks, attributed these to mental health problems.

Co-op Chief Executive, Steve Murrells, visited the wellbeing service in Hackney, he said: “One of the key pillars of our vision of Co-operating for a Fairer World is responding to the big issues affecting our communities such as mental wellbeing.

“Our recent major study, where we surveyed 5,000 10-25-year-olds, found that young people see protecting their mental wellbeing as one of their toughest challenges. It’s important that we work with them to address this, so they have a greater opportunity to realise their aspirations.

“I’m pleased to be able to visit the service here today in Hackney, with our partners Mind, to see the crucial work being done to help make a meaningful impact on supporting young people’s mental wellbeing. We must continue to help build resilience in our communities help people get access to the support they need at the time they need it.”

Vanessa Morris, Chief Executive of Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest, which runs Young Rainbow Minds, said: “LGBTQI+ young people, especially those from racialised communities, face additional barriers to good mental health. With the Co-op’s help, Young Rainbow Minds is building a restorative community, supporting LGBTQI+ young people to share compassionate self-care, trust, and the freedom to be themselves. The pandemic has been particularly hard on young LGBTQI+ folk, and so tailored support services like ours are all the more important.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome the Co-op team to Young Rainbow Minds to see first-hand how the generosity of their partnership is supporting young LGBTQI+ people. We’re thrilled to be working with the Co-op to deliver services like Young Rainbow Minds, which are needed now more than ever. Earlier this year, our research found that 70% of LGBTQI+ people said the pandemic had made their mental health worse. And we know that LGBTQI+ people are already more likely than the general population to experience mental health problems, to struggle to access or benefit from mainstream mental health services, and even to die by suicide, often because of trauma or discrimination.”

The Co-op also supports mental wellbeing in communities through its Local Community Fund, Member Pioneers, Co-op Academies and supporting those who are bereaved through its Funeralcare business.

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