Mental illness is a growing epidemic on a global scale, with 1 in 3 people on Island affected. Removing the stigma around mental health is essential but does little alone. Without complementary services, treatment is inadequate, and feeling less judged for your health issues means little if one is faced with a lack of access to talking therapies and non-existent community support.
July 2019 saw the launch of REACH IOM, an Island-based mental health charity that aims to end the stigma around mental health by providing safe spaces for people to discuss mental health issues, and by connecting people who have been through similar experiences.
The charity was founded by Adam Hudgeon, after he posted a frank and blisteringly honest message on social media about his struggles with anxiety and depression. The story was picked up by local media outlets, and the resultant snowball led to the birth of REACH IOM.
Charterhouse Lombard’s Director & Head of Compliance, Jonathan Leece, is a director of REACH IOM, and he assisted Adam with the formation of the company and the corporate legalisation of establishing and operating a working, recognised charity:
“This is all about Adam,” says Jonathan. “I’ve known him since he was about six as I used to play football with his father.
“Adam received a lot of positive feedback from his post on social media: he received over 200 private messages and around 5,000 likes both in support and sharing their own difficulties with mental health, which shows there’s obviously an issue largely unspoken and under the radar with mental health on the Island.
“I got involved on the corporate side of the charity as a means to free Adam up to do the more outreach side of our work, whether that’s talks in schools or raising awareness on such a crucial topic.”
The mental health of young people has received significant coverage in national media over the past few years, and it has prompted numerous inquiries, reports, recommendations, and pledges by politicians and NHS leaders to improve the situation.
For Jonathan, raising awareness about the work that REACH IOM does is the key objective: “Mental health is such a broad and vastly misunderstood topic, and REACH IOM is committed to bridging the gap between people struggling to understand any issues they may be having and addressing them early to raising awareness and initiating conversation to reduce the stigma. There is an 18 months waiting list to be seen by mental health professionals and psychological services on island, things can rapidly decline in that period and we don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks.
“It isn’t something we can manage entirely by ourselves without tapping into regular funding to allow this to happen and a good way is through a company’s CSR budget. We thank all the individuals, businesses and our committee who continue to support us. However, we would welcome anyone both individually and at a corporate level who can offer their financial support to allow us to grow our services to be able to continue to fill that gap – if that is you please get in touch.
“There are lots of other people and charities doing amazing work alongside the Government’s Mental Health Crisis Team, and we had a meeting in October with the police service who have created a dedicated team for identifying people who might end up in difficult situations due to their mental state. We were happy to support them in their aims and there are many other bodies who ask for our assistance in which we are happy to support.”
Charterhouse Lombard is proud to support the work that REACH IOM do, and are proud of Jonathan’s involvement in such a vital charity.
If you’ve been affected by mental health issues and are looking for support you can visit REACH IOM’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/reachiom/
or Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/reach-iom/