Freemasons are doing their bit for the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Week, raising more than £1.9 million to donate to charities supporting mental health.
So far, Freemasons have made over 100 donations, helping more than 1.4 million people experiencing mental health issues.
To help communities achieve a better state of mental health, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF, the Freemasons’ charity), are supporting various institutions, schools and universities.
According to the NHS’ Young Minds Survey 2020, one in six young people have a probable mental health disorder, while 83 per cent of young people said the pandemic had made their mental health worse.
Among the institutions receiving support is Young Minds. Freemasons are donating £260,000 to help the charity support more than 1.4 million young people. The goal is to increase Young Minds’ reach by 10 per cent and help many more young people find the support they need, when they need it, and be able to take practical, actionable steps to improve their mental health.
The donation will enable the charity to proactively recruit more young black and disabled people, to diversify Young Minds’ pool of bloggers and expand the experiences and voices on the website. The idea is to create more content on racism and mental health, as well as for those living with bipolar disorder.
Freemasons have also donated more than £250,000 to Mind. The donation funds the costs of an established peer-mentoring scheme in 18 schools, providing recruitment, training and support to mentors and young people with mental health concerns, through one-to-one talking and listening sessions. The donation also supports the production of two annual conferences on children and young people’s mental health.
In 2020, Suffolk Mind trained members of the Suffolk Freemasons on understanding how awareness of emotional needs can lead to better mental wellbeing for ourselves, recognising signs of poor mental health in others, and how to assist by signposting to relevant support. Freemasons also donated £1,000 to Suffolk Mind.
Other grants to charities include:
- £2,000 from Hertfordshire Freemasons to Mind, in memory of member Charles Wandrag who took his life due to mental health issues.
- £2,000 from West Kent Freemasons to Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource, which will help provide safe spaces and person-centred mental health support to help people improve their wellbeing.
- £5,000 from Northumberland Freemasons to Cleaswell Hill School, a community school that caters for children aged four to 19 with complex learning difficulties and disabilities.
- £3,000 from Northumberland Freemasons to LD:NorthEast which supports people across North Tyneside who have lived experience of learning disabilities, learning difficulties and autism.
- £700 from Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons to Melton Mencap, and £2,000 to Loughborough Wellbeing Centre to support people living with enduring mental health issues.
- £3,000 from Jersey Freemasons to Dementia Jersey, which will pay for a ‘recharger day’ for those who care for others with dementia.