The event included presentations by Dr Alan Cooklin (CEO) of the Foundation, by the team producing the materials led by Mark Ayres of Team Media, as well as testimonials from young people aged 10 – 20, who have benefited from the Who Cares and Kidstime projects. There were also presentations by Jessica Streeting (school nurse and adviser to Public Health England), and Gemma Blackmore (head of health and Social Care at Stoke Damarel Community College in Plymouth) who has pioneered use of the project. 6 young people also performed a dramatic representation of using the project, supported by Deni Francis and others entertained the audience by singing and playing songs.
Ade Adepitan, Olympic medalist from the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and now TV presenter, is a patron of the Foundation, spoke and engaged the young people.
Commentary came from Michael Allured, Policy Adviser at the Department for Education and Alastair Campbell – now a tireless fighter to improve mental health services – who gave an impassioned speech and blogged:
The stars of the show were the young people who spoke of how this tiny charity, operating in a tiny number of schools, had helped them. A young man from Plymouth, Joel, who said quite simply ‘Kidstime saved my life,’ helping not just him to understand the nature of his father’s illness, but helping his teachers and fellow pupils too…
Then there was a young woman called Kirsty, one of Kidstime’s earliest success stories, the daughter of two parents with severe mental health issues, now on her way to getting a degree, and full of confidence and inspiration as she spoke, family members watching on proudly…
But the quote of the night for me came from a young girl called Cacharel, aged ten or eleven, who lives at home with her often profoundly depressed mother and younger siblings: ‘I love talking about mental illness’. Kidstime had given her permission to be open and frank about what she felt about her mother’s illness, and also to understand that just as she needed to give support to her family, she also knew there was support for her too.
..What we saw were young people who, given a little support, now have the confidence and the resilience they need to make something of their lives..
Alistair Burt, Minister of State at the Department of Health added:
“This work comes at a great time for mental health. There is a cross-government effort under way and we are building on this momentum through our campaigns tackling stigma and tirelessly focussing on young people to help prevent these issues developing in the first place.
“I want us to celebrate the incredible work of our frontline mental health staff and the achievements of organisations such as the Kidstime Foundation to make this the best generation for supporting people with mental health conditions, and their families.”