Friends of the Foundation
The Friends of the Foundation were formed as a group of like-minded, passionate individuals with a commitment to improving mental health. This commitment led them to engage in a 'high-value donor' fundraising campaign focusing on young people’s mental health, which subsequently funded the Foundation’s Peer Education Project.
The Friends were formed by their Chair, Fiorella Massey. Fiorella was introduced to the Foundation by a Trustee, Douglas Blausten. She quickly became passionately involved with the cause of preventing mental health problems and proceeded to successfully form the Friends of the Foundation, with the purpose of being a project-driven, high-value fundraising committee focusing on 'research into action'.
'We now urgently need to create a more honest environment to enable people to talk openly. The burden of silence and privacy only exacerbates the pain.' - Fiorella Massey, Chair of the Friends of the Foundation
The Friends have successfully introduced the Mental Health Foundation to the world of high-value giving events. With the extraordinary success of the Inaugural Friends of the Foundation Gala Dinner in March 2016, which focused on young people’s mental health, we hope this is only the beginning.
In gathering parliamentarians and professionals in one place, we know that the event left a lasting impression of the mental health crisis facing young people today, and the need to strengthen their mental wellbeing for the future.
The focus of the Friends thus far has been young people’s mental health, with particular emphasis on prevention and stigma reduction.
What are the Friends of the Foundation campaigning for?
The Friends of the Foundation are campaigning for better mental health awareness, reducing stigma and fostering a wider culture of prevention initiatives. The Friends' current campaign was, in part, inspired by Amber and Sophia, two young women campaigning for better mental health awareness in schools, with the aim of it being on the national curriculum.
Introduced to the Foundation by Fiorella, Amber and Sophia quickly became youth ambassadors and helped to catalyse the Foundation's previous work on peer-support, into the Peer Education Project (PEP). They also received The Sun’s Special Recognition Health Star on ITV Good Morning Britain, in recognition for their work campaigning for better mental health in schools.
The Peer Education Project is aimed at equipping young people with the knowledge and understanding of stigma, mental wellbeing and the ways in which they can safeguard themselves and their peers. By training Year 12s (16-17) to teach Year 7s (11-12), PEP's aim is to bypass the walls many young people put up when being taught such nuanced, personal topics by adults whom they feel detached from their personal experiences.
Through their tenacity and drive, the Friends succeeded in galvanising enormous support for the Peer Education Project at the Inaugural Friends of the Foundation Gala Dinner in March 2016, raising in excess of a £250,000.
The Friends of the Foundation are an incredible example of what can be achieved when a group of committed and driven advocates come together behind a cause they believe in. We at the Mental Health Foundation are incredibly grateful for their resourceful, passionate advocacy and commitment to turning research into action.