CHILDREN in 27 schools across Dorset will receive mental health support thanks to lottery funding for Dorset Mind.

The mental health charity says it has been given "sizeable" funding which will enable it to support young people in nine middle schools and 18 secondary schools for the next three years.

The charity will also deliver a range of support groups and train young ambassadors to raise mental health and wellbeing awareness amongst their peers.

The 'Dorset Mind Your Head' programme is a whole-school approach to mental health support. This means that the charity not only supports and educates the students – it helps increase the parents’ and teachers’ understanding of mental health, so they are also able to support their students’ emotional mental health and wellbeing.

In total, the charity aims to help 19,500 young people, 3,300 parents and 5,700 staff in schools and an additional 648 young people at other community-based support groups as part of the ‘Connected Minds’ programme.

Dorset Mind Your Head was piloted in 2018, funded by a group of six local Rotary Clubs. Since then, expansion has superceded expectations – due to the need for adolescent mental health support in Dorset.

Dorset Mind's Chief Executive, Marianne Storey said: "We’re so grateful to the National Lottery for funding the expansion of our truly life-changing programme. This incredible grant will help secure our Young People’s programme for three years.

"During the Covid19 Pandemic, we know that many young people have struggled with their mental health and wellbeing and so this grant couldn’t come at a better time."

Dorset Mind Your Head’s Children & Young People Service Manager, Anna Powney added: "I have repeatedly heard young people express a desire to learn about mental health and emotional well-being so that they can develop essential skills to help them best navigate their own and others’ complex emotional needs.

"It's such a valued gift to receive this funding which allows us to continue to do exactly that, to educate and support young people, building their mental health awareness. We provide vital mental health support, as well as upskilling school staff and family members too. A big thank you to the National Lottery for making this happen.”

Dorset Mind Patron and Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, Dr Andy Mayers, added: "This National Lottery funding is a major boost for the young people of Dorset. We know that the earlier we can reach young people to support their mental health, the more likely we will equip them to have the toolkits to improve their wellbeing and potentially reduce the lifetime impact of poor mental health."

For more information about Dorset Mind Your Head, or if you would like to contribute or volunteer to help this essential service for young people, go to the charitys website at