Leeds Mental Health Scheme Backed

A Leeds organisation which helps young people with mental health problems, should be given more Government funding, according to a national report.

The Market Place, in city centre Leeds, has played an important part in a major report released by a national charity today.

In its report Listen Up! The Mental Health Foundation looked at the way The Market Place, and seven other voluntary projects across the UK, help young people through difficult mental health and emotional problems.

Its Chief Executive, Dr Andrew McCulloch, paid tribute to the vital work such organisations carry out.

Dr McCulloch said: “It doesn’t look or feel like a mental health project, but mental health is treated with a respect that psychiatric services could really learn from.

“Organisations like The Market Place are essential if we are to help troubled youngsters. We’ve found that voluntary organisations are providing the kind of services that young people like, where they feel safe and listened to.

“Today we are calling for organisations like The Market Place to be backed by government funding and support. We also think the government should look to the good work that voluntary organisations do when planning their own mental health services for young people.”

The Market Place, at city centre Kirkgate, next to the Old Royal Oak pub, was set up in 1989.

It supports young people aged 13 to 25 who have relationship, emotional or practical problems. It offers a range of services including youth work, counselling and emotional and practical support.

Among teenagers, rates of anxiety and depression increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years and the incidence of reported self-harm has also risen, with one in 15 young people now thought to be affected.

Users of the centre say it has a “relaxed atmosphere, where you are given time to talk. It’s not pushy, it’s safe, friendly and non-judgemental.”

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, added: “Research shows there are very many young people with early signs of mental health problems who need help, ranging from someone to talk to whom they can trust, to intensive treatment for those who are severely affected. The voluntary sector has a vital role to play and need funding.”