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HideOut Youth Zone partners with national youth charity, ‘Stop. Breathe. Think’, to tackle growing youth mental health crisis.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May 2022), HideOut Youth Zone welcomed mental health support charity, ‘Stop.Breathe.Think’, to host an evening of mental wellbeing activity, and to raise awareness of the charity’s service amongst young people in the Northwest.

The event, attended by over 120 young people, aimed to raise awareness of mental health issues, tackle the stigma around mental health, encourage activity to foster healthy minds and healthy lives, and promote the ‘Stop.Breathe.Think’ service to any young person that needs someone to talk to.

The event was supported by AJ Bell, the Salford-based investment platform and long-term partner of Stop.Breathe.Think.

In 2022, AJ Bell donated £60,000 to raise awareness of the charity’s service which was launched in November 2020.

The online ‘Stop.Breathe.Think’ service was launched in response to the global pandemic and provides an integral alternative to NHS mental health services. NHS England (May 2022) states a record 650,000 children and young people were in contact with NHS mental health services over the last year, compared to 534,000 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stop.Breathe.Think offers vital support to young people aged 21 or under across the UK, allowing them to access free and confidential support from specialist mental health professionals. Following an initial consultation, a young person is able to access weekly 1-2-1 counselling with a mental health professional, with no wait time.

Attendees of the partnership event were invited to take part in various activities within the Youth Zone to promote positive mental health, including podcast recording, lyric writing, cooking, art and sport.

The event also welcomed local graffiti artist, Wilf, who created an art piece based on ‘positive mental wellbeing’, and first-team Sale Shark players Sam Hill and Leah Lyons, who put together a short training session for young people to take part in physical activity.

Reflecting on the event, Director of ‘Stop.Breathe.Think’, Dan Charlish said:

“It was a fantastic evening at Hideout Youth Zone, and alongside all the fun activities, it was a great opportunity to talk to all the young people attending about the importance of looking after their mental health. We were so pleased to have received such a positive response to the Stop.Breathe.Think service, from young people and youth workers alike, and we hope many young people will benefit over months and years to come.”

Speaking at the event, Head of Youth Work, Joe Amos said:

“This collaborative event embodies our mission at HideOut: to support all young people by providing three things which all young people need and deserve – somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. We want to thank ‘Stop.Breathe.Think’ for their service and for showing young people that help is always available to them.

“When young people come to HideOut, the whole idea – the activities, the things that we do here, the youth work, the people you speak to – it’s all about improving your mental health and wellbeing. It’s time to tackle this mental health crisis and work together to support young people’s futures”.

HideOut Youth Zone opened in September 2020 and provides safe and inspiring place for thousands of young people aged 8 – 19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs, to enjoy their leisure time.

HideOut Youth Zone is open evenings, weekends and throughout the school holidays, providing a diverse range of activities for just £5 annual membership and 50p a visit. Activities include sports, dance, drama, music, crafts, gardening, hairdressing, cookery, film and digital media.