AJ Bell launches two-year partnership with new mental health service ‘Stop.Breathe.Think’

by | Jan 17, 2022

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Source: https://totalshape.com/

AJ Bell has donated £60,000 to a new long-term community partnership which will see it fund and support Stop.Breathe.Think in the North West. Stop.Breathe.Think offers free and confidential mental health support to young people aged 21 or under around the UK.

Initially launched as a campaign by the charity Switch180 in November 2020, whom AJ Bell have worked closely with for many years, Stop.Breathe.Think quickly became a fully-fledged service due to the sheer demand for their life-changing efforts during the pandemic. Shockingly, the charity found that the pandemic has made over 60% of the younger generation feel more anxious, with 3 out of 5 young people believing lockdown has negatively impacted their mental health (Stop.Breathe.Think and Censuswide, 2020).

Demand for mental health support, particularly amongst younger people, has never been so great, with the rippling effects of COVID-19 combining with ‘Blue Monday’ – the third Monday in January, characterised as the most depressing day of the year, due to a combination of post-Christmas blues and cold, dark nights.

Current wait times to receive professional counselling are at an all-time high hence why Switch180 has created service with no wait times, all young people have to do is fill out a short form on the Stop.Breathe.Think website and they can start their counselling journey within 24 hours. Each individual is matched with a specialised counsellor, meaning that everybody receives targeted support from the beginning. The 1-2-1 sessions are carried out virtually and are completely free to access.

Since launch, Stop.Breathe.Think has helped 810 young people through their counselling journey, with 91% reporting that they felt in a better place mentally following their counselling.

This new partnership and the £60,000 donation is part of AJ Bell’s Wage War on COVID campaign, which in total raised nearly £383,000 to support people directly affected by the COVID crisis. See attached infographic for more detail on the charities and organisations supported by the campaign.

Andy Bell, chief executive at AJ Bell, says: “At AJ Bell our team has always been passionate about supporting organisations that make a real difference to the community. Stop.Breathe.Think has already helped many young people through the mental challenges presented by the pandemic and we’re proud to enter this long-term partnership to help more people use their vital services over the coming years.

“I’ve been bowled over by the generosity of staff, customers, financial advisers and members of the public who have donated to the AJ Bell Wage War on COVID campaign. By spreading the donations across different sectors and charities, we’ve been able to reach a wide range of people who’ve needed support during the pandemic.”

Dan Charlish, director at Switch180, says: “The aim of Stop.Breathe.Think is to provide vital mental health support to young people who need it right now. We’re delighted to partner with AJ Bell to ensure that more young people in the North West have access to 1-1 counselling sessions through our service. With no wait times and a team of counsellors ready to go, it’s through partnerships with local organisations like AJ Bell that we’re able to have an impact in communities that need us the most. Thank you.”

Anxious, stressed, struggling? It’s okay to ask for help. Visit: www.stopbreathethink.org.uk

AJ Bell Wage War on COVID campaign

AJ Bell’s Wage War on COVID fund was set up at the outset of the pandemic to provide support to people directly impacted by the COVID crisis. A total of £382,926 was raised thanks to donations from AJ Bell staff, customers, financial advisers and members of the public. The fund sits under the umbrella of the AJ Bell Trust, a UK registered charity which kick started the fund raising by allocating £50,000 of its charitable reserves to the fund back in April 2020.

Since then, all funds have been distributed to charities and organisations helping people nationwide through the pandemic. £52,000 was donated to help tackle food poverty, with a total of 9 charities receiving funds, including FareShare – a national food distribution network aimed at relieving food poverty whilst reducing food waste.

In April 2021, AJ Bell teamed up with FareShare Greater Manchester and the Sharks Community Trust to crack down on food poverty in the North West. Over the course of 6 weeks, a total of 4,851 food hampers were delivered to 64 different schools across Salford and Trafford. This equated to 105,434 total meals donated.

£133,943 was spent on 759 tablets, which were donated to care homes, hospitals and youth clubs nationwide, to help relatives stay in touch with their loved ones during the lockdowns.

£136,915 was distributed to 38 different charities – all of which were nominated by AJ Bell staff for their work in the community in response the pandemic. See attached infographic for more details of the charities supported.

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