Our aim at stem4 is to support teenage mental health, raise awareness, build resilience and encourage early intervention.
I founded stem4 in 2011, after the death of a 16 year old who had anorexia nervosa and whose school I became involved with in my clinical capacity. Since then we have extended our scope to work not only with students, parents and teachers but to provide information to school nurses and GPs in four specific areas of mental health commonly affecting teenagers – eating disorders, anxiety & depression, self-harm and addiction. We also advise on ways to enhance wellbeing and emotional resilience.
Talks are offered by mental health professionals and our ambassadors all have lived experience of dealing with mental health issues. Due to increasing demand, and because of our commitment to offer our services to schools that can’t access information about mental health as easily, we have produced a series of educational videos so that all schools can receive and share the same information. Our conference programme for parents, students and health professionals has had very positive feedback too.
Taking advantage of technology
As a clinician specialising in this field, I was really excited to be able to design and develop an app to help people cope with self-harming. Since the launch of Calm Harm in 2015 it has been downloaded over 55,000 times. The app was developed with young people who provided their views on the design and on the tasks and a new version was released in April 2017. It is now available on NHS choices.
Local Charities Day 2017
The contribution made by small local mental health charities such as stem4 is vital in complimenting the work carried out by statutory organisations, as we can tailor our work to local people. Celebrating the work of local charities on this day is important because of the recognition it gives in helping to promote our work. It also gives us energy to keep up our fund-raising efforts and encourages linking up with other charities.
We are celebrating LCD this year by promoting a ‘stem4familyshare’ – encouraging young people and their families to spend 4, 14 or 40 minutes carrying out a fun activity whilst sharing something important about themselves and we are thinking of asking companies to do the same.