Mental health fund set up in memory of Jersey teenager who took her own life

It has been one year since 14-year-old Kezia Mason died. Credit: ITV Channel TV

More money will go towards youth mental health services in Jersey as part of a fund set up by the family of a teenager who took her own life.

Working with Jersey Community Foundation (JCF), Kezia's Fund, named after 14-year-old Kezia Mason, will give grants to organisations that support young people aged 5 to 25.

It will also encourage youngsters to get involved, particularly when it comes to creating initiatives, or organising activites, that raise awareness around mental health.

Organisations can apply for the funding from today (7 March) - the deadline is 4 June.

The money will come from the £125,000 Kezia's brother, Ben, has raised from a JustGiving page and fundraising events, such as September's Run4Kezia.

People can also donate to the fund, with a private donor to Jersey Community Foundation (JCF) pledging to match contributions up £15,000.

Kezia's father, Rob Mason, says "it is so important that we continue to raise awareness and remove stigma surrounding mental health, particularly for the young people in Jersey."

He added that his family "were humbled by the support of our local community so it is an honour to work with JCF to establish 'Kezia's Fund' to ensure these significant funds reach the projects, charities and initiatives that we hope will make a real difference."

A number of studies suggest that a high number of young people struggle with their mental health in the UK and in Jersey.

The UK charity, Mental Health Foundation, estimates that 1 in 10 children have poor mental health, and 70% of those who struggle do not receive adequate help at a young age.

In Jersey, the Children and Young People Survey in 2021 found 25% of those surveyed had low self-esteem, with these people being 58% more likely to have self-harmed in the previous 12 months than their peers who did not report a problem.

Furthermore, the Children's Society says 50% of problems start by the age of 14, which further highlights the importance of early intervention as that was Kezia's age when she died.

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