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Bright Young Dreams – mental health campaign launch by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and comedian Jon Richardson stand alongside colleagues in front of our Becton centre
24 November 2023

Decorated Olympian Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is launching the Bright Young Dreams campaign to help address the urgent global crisis in children’s mental health, backed by broadcaster, Dan Walker, and comedians, Jon Richardson, and Lucy Beaumont.

Together, they are rallying the global community to join in Bright Young Dreams’ mission to raise £5m in 2024 to help fund a strategic action plan and infrastructure, in aid of Sheffield Children’s and The Children’s Hospital Charity. They hope to create a brighter future for children’s mental health care.

Started in Sheffield. Shared With The World.

Each year, the campaign will seek to support the finance of clinical advancements, the training and support of healthcare professionals, and investment in updated, world-class infrastructure at Sheffield Children’s.

The campaign also seeks to enable much needed research, and to share the findings of this research with healthcare providers throughout the world, including best practice, and new technology and innovations.

Investment will also be dedicated to the ambition to build a new technology platform for children, parents and staff, to help provide accessible education and support for those who need it. 

The campaign will share inspiring stories, thought-provoking narratives, and entertaining content with the friends of Jess, Dan, Jon, and Lucy. 

Each year, the campaign reaches its peak with a live event featuring comedy, entertainment, music and dance. The evening will unite patients, caregivers, and those committed to addressing the children’s mental health crisis, for what promises to be a spectacular show. Additionally, look out for numerous surprises, events, giveaways, auctions, patient stories, and more opportunities to engage in our mission. The lineup and final venue will be confirmed in Spring 2024.

The Global Children’s Mental Health Crisis.

Children’s mental health is at breaking point; over the last five years, cases of children experiencing mental health issues have increased dramatically across the world. The statistics are alarming:

  • Globally, one in seven 10-19 year olds experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease in this age group.
  • Depression, anxiety, and behavioural disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.
  • Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds.
  • The consequences of failing to address adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults. (Reference: World Health Organization, 2023)

“Mental Health in children is in crisis and, as a mum, it breaks my heart,” says campaign founder Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill. “We can do so much more, and we need to! I want to create a legacy that can define a future pathway for better care for the children of tomorrow. Sheffield is my hometown, and Sheffield Children’s is at the forefront of paediatric care in the UK and beyond, and they have big ambitions to make a difference across the world.

“I’ve seen first hand the work that is being done, but more funding is needed to help more children, and more research is needed that must be shared with the world. Dan, Jon, Lucy and I need your help to make sure future generations get the mental health care and support they deserve. Mental health and wellbeing underpins everything, and it is an area that needs much more attention, funding, and clinical support.”

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is one of only three dedicated children’s hospital Trusts in the UK. It provides integrated healthcare for children and young people, including community and mental health care as well as acute and specialist services. The hospital not only serves the UK but attracts patients from across the world, and is recognised as one of the most advanced dedicated children’s hospitals, globally. 

The Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has an ambition to become a leader in children’s mental health, and ensure best practice, research and innovations are shared because, only together, can we help children, parents and carers.

It’s time for action. It starts today.

Ruth Brown, Chief Executive, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust: “We’re proud and excited at the launch of Bright Young Dreams and the ambition to further develop Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust into a leading advocate for actionable change in how we tackle the global issue of children’s mental health.  The number of children and young people affected is growing globally, and we need to think bigger, to help more. 

“Donations to Bright Young Dreams will help create new facilities and support to children and young people. It will enable much-needed research and investigate future use of new technology and innovations.

“We’re joining together with Bright Young Dreams to take more action, for our children, young people and families. Started in Sheffield. Shared with the world.”

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and her fellow campaign leaders are calling on everyone to join Bright Young Minds on its mission: to come together as a community and make a difference in the lives of children, building a brighter and healthier future for the next generation.

John Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer, The Children’s Hospital Charity: “We are so grateful to have the ongoing support of such a dedicated and talented group, and are privileged to have Jess, Dan, Lucy and Jon as our charity patrons. They are passionately dedicated to helping make a real difference to children’s mental health, and leaving behind a lasting legacy for future generations. 

“Their campaign doesn’t just seek to raise awareness, but to offer tangible help to patients and their families, as well as advancements in much needed research, for a wider impact. It starts today.”


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