This mental health festival reaches millions of young people

The UK’s mental health festival for schools is back for another year – aiming to reduce stigma and open up conversations around young people’s minds and wellbeing.

Through the festival – called Now and Beyond – the founding charity, Beyond, has reached more than one million young people, educators and parents over the past three years.

Beyond is a youth mental health charity that aims to improve young people’s mental health in the UK by enabling access to interventions in and out of formal education.

And it’s needed. NHS services are grossly oversubscribed, suicide rates amongst 15-19 year olds are the highest they’ve been in 30 years, and around 200 young people die by suicide every year in the UK.

Led by activist and founder Jonny Benjamin MBE and CEO Louisa Rose, the charity is driven by a youth board determined to drive change among young people.

So, tell me more about the festival.

The festival takes place online on 8 February. You can book workshops ahead of time, and also view the live event schedule.

A wide range of workshops will be available, as well as personal stories from young people with lived experience, and lesson plans for 4-18 year olds, covering everything from mental health first aid to mindfulness, eating disorders, anti-racism, mental health stigma and screen time.

Rapper and mental health activist Shocka is taking part and recording a new music video of his song ‘Stigma’ to raise awareness of men’s mental health. He’ll also be interviewed by Beyond youth board member Jeremy Lyons in an online broadcast.

“It’s extremely important to eradicate shame and create more safe spaces between one and other,” he said. “Another goal of mine is to be the person that I wish I had when I was young. Knowing that thousands of young people, teachers, parents and carers will see this during Now and Beyond helps me achieve that.” 

Louisa Rose, founder of the festival, said: “The devastating increase in suicide rates is evidence that children and young people’s mental health services are needed now more than ever.

“If children and young people have access to the right services at the earliest possible opportunity, lives will be saved.

“While we are unable to directly increase the provision of services through Beyond, what we can do is share learnings, expertise and toolkits to broad audiences to empower teachers, parents, carers, children and young people to better understand and navigate mental health issues, learn about self-care and know when and how to take action.”

To find out more or to register as a school visit www.nowandbeyond.org.uk.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.