Mental health hub The Nest branches out into schools across Southwark

8 October 2021

In the week that marks World Mental Health Day (10 October), Southwark’s students welcome The Nest, the mental health service expanding into schools to help ensure all children and young people in the borough have access to the emotional wellbeing and mental health support they need.

The mental health hub, based at their drop-in centre on Rye Lane, used additional funding from Southwark Council to recruit a dedicated team to deliver a package of support directly to students, their families and teachers. This includes workshops, resource packs, summer programmes and webinars to raise awareness of mental health, help children as they undergo school transitions, and support young people at risk of or who have already been excluded from school.

This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day – ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’ – shifts focus to the issues that perpetuate mental health inequality locally and globally, including racial inequality. Since the free and confidential service launched in May last year, The Nest has successfully reached young people from across Southwark’s diverse communities with two in three of their referrals being for young people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The Nest, funded by Southwark Council and delivered by charity Groundwork London, is one of the key components of the council’s commitment that 100 per cent of children and young people in Southwark have access to emotional wellbeing and mental health support. Under their Youth New Deal, the council approved £200,000 to take the service directly into schools to help ensure their mental health and wellbeing needs are met, especially in light of the extra challenges caused by the pandemic.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “This World Mental Health Day is all about tackling the inequalities that have an impact on mental health. During the first lockdown, we opened our free drop-in mental health service so that every child and young person in Southwark has equal access to the support they need. Now, through our Youth New Deal, we are further investing in early support by taking dedicated mental health practitioners directly into schools as we move towards educational recovery and bridging the attainment gap.

“We know the wellbeing and mental health of a young person supports positive outcomes in all areas of life, from behaviour at school to performance at work. By acting as early as possible, we are working hard to ensure all children and young people in Southwark are supported and feel in control of their future.”

Amid a record number of entries, The Nest was shortlisted in the Children’s Services category of the 2021 LGC Awards. The awards ceremony, which celebrates excellence in local government, will take place on 4 November 2021 when the winners will be announced.

Earlier this year, the council also approved £2m in funding and launched a dedicated task force responsible for working closely with schools to improve mental health and resilience in schools. To date, 78 schools have made successful funding applications for a range of school-based initiatives, such as poetry workshops and leadership programmes, which will benefit at least 30,000 pupils – accounting for more than two thirds of all school children in Southwark.

For more information about mental health support in Southwark for children and young people, call for free on 020 8138 1805 or visit

Page last updated: 08 October 2021

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