One particular piece of Budget news caught my eye this week - the Government’s commitment to boost spending on mental health care, particularly for veterans and children.
Both of these are key areas that TimeBank has been working on for some time – so it’s good to see that the Government has finally caught up!!
The Switch is our mentoring project for young people transitioning between child and adolescent mental health care into adult mental health care or indeed out of support altogether. For the young person it’s a time of great vulnerability and having a mentor independent of family or professional services can help them to make this transition effectively and with confidence – it’s a small investment that makes a massive difference.
Shoulder to Shoulder is our veterans mentoring project that we’ve run in London, Birmingham and now in Scotland. Again supporting vulnerable veterans through the difficult transition into civilian life made harder by the mental health issues some of them have, caused by their service to our country.
Neither of these is an easy volunteering opportunity – mentees may often not turn up to meetings because their condition has worsened or they’ve forgotten or can’t make themselves leave the house. They may not do the things they say they will between meetings. Our veterans may be challenging, angry young men and women who are unlikely to say thank you to anyone, even their mentor. This is a volunteering opportunity that requires patience, goodwill, and recognising what seem like baby steps are actually giant leaps forward. But this is a volunteering opportunity that literally can save lives.
I hope that the Government will acknowledge the role projects like these play in supporting the most vulnerable in our society and that funding something proven and helping to expand it geographically is just as valuable, if not more so, than a new, innovative but unproven initiative.
If you want to know what TimeBank thinks the new Government should be prioritising – check out our manifesto and sign up to it here