Sailing charity launches lifeline to help youngsters cope with mental health crisis

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Tall Ships Youth Trust (TYST) acted after NHS research said one in six has problems – up from one in nine in 2017 – and nearly half of 17 to 19-year-olds with a disorder have self-harmed or tried to take their life.The Portsmouth-based trust aims to tackle the health emergency before it gets worse.

The charity has a focus on working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and has offered “transformational” experiences at sea for 65 years.

In a typical year, it takes 1,000 youngsters out on its four 72ft Challenger yachts and a 55ft ketch.

Sue Geary, a longstanding TSYT skipper, said: “Our residential voyages provide a unique outdoor learning environment where young people are supported by our professionally trained crew to feel safe and have open conversations around mental health.

Sail training provides the ideal space for promoting positive mental health and recovery for young people.”

The activities at the core of each voyage match the NHS’s 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing.

One teenager who benefited from time with the charity paid tribute to its work, saying: “The voyage has changed me for the better.

“The experience has really boosted my confidence and self-esteem.

“I’ve been comfortable doing things I wasn’t before – like socialising for more than 10 minutes.

No one judges you. It’s inclusive, not exclusive. I’ve asked to go back as a volunteer and help because I want other young people to get the same experience I did.

together “My story highlights the life-changing work Tall Ships Youth Trust does. Please, help change more lives like mine.”

To find out more and to donate to the Lifeline Appeal visit tallships.org/appeal/ lifeline-appeal

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