A CAMPAIGN has been launched to help support young people facing mental health issues.

Dorset Mind is aiming to raise £55,000 to pay for services it wants to develop to help those aged from 14 to 25.

It comes as the charity says it has identified a gap in health services between those aimed at children and those which support adults.

Dr Andrew Mayers, a psychologist and patron of Dorset Mind, said he has noticed more and more young people having to go outside the county to get the support they need.

He said: “We are not saying CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) are doing a bad job in Dorset. Under the circumstances they are doing a fantastic job, particularly in light of recent cuts to services.

“But even with those services, there’s still a lot that needs to be done for young people.”

One problem, he added, occurs when mental health issues begin in older teens.

“They can be put into adult systems, which can be very overwhelming. We need young people’s services especially for the age range of 14 to 25 that can look at bridging that gap.”

The £55,000 Dorset Mind is hoping to raise would fund support groups across Dorset, a mentoring service, telephone and email helpline, and information and training in schools and colleges.

Dr Mayers said: “It’s about complementing statutory services.”

He does not doubt that there has been an increase in recent years of incidences of mental health in youngsters, but said this could be either a ‘direct result or circumstances or a consequence of us encouraging people to talk about it’.

“We do know that some of the cuts in services locally and nationally are having an impact to the extent that decision are being made about which youngsters to support.”

He also sees the voluntary sector as taking on a bigger role in providing mental health services.

“It’s absolutely essential that we are there to provide support. Early intervention is far better than trying to address an issue at a later stage.”

Support services that the charity is looking to provide would be available for youngsters in Weymouth, Portland and West Dorset, as well as the conurbation.

The services would cost £55,000 per year to run, but Dr Mayers said if the money can be raised through voluntary contributions in the first year to prove there is a need, other sources of funding, such as grants can be considered.

The charity has started a Just Giving page to help raise the funds. Visit www.dorsetmind.uk for more details.