THOUSANDS of pounds could go to help groups who help young people with mental health issues in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has now closed expressions of interest for its new Youth Mental Health Fund, having received an extraordinary response from 38 community and voluntary groups requesting a total amount of £206,823.

The money will go to projects working towards the prevention and treatment of mental health problems for younger people.

Chief Executive of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation Jakes Ferguson said: “This is the first time HIWCF has run a Youth Mental Health themed grant programme and this overwhelming response identifies that there is a huge need for support of mental health issues in the area.

“The response is close to being the strongest demand for any grant programme we’ve ever run and we will now be able to evaluate the exact type of need to ensure our grants can help local groups put their projects into action to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Grants of £3,000 to £6,000 were available to groups based and active in Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight supporting young children from the age of five up to 25 years old affected by a range of issues.

These included depression, cyberbullying, drug addiction, bereavement and as well as self-harm.

Chairman of HIWCF, Jonathan Cheshire said: “The grant applications received demonstrate a wide range of inspiring projects and it is clear that groups across the area are working hard to tackle the issues involved with mental health.

“HIWCF continuously reviews our grant-making to ensure that it focuses on the areas of greatest need. Last year we were able to target 70% of our £1.1m grant spend on the 50% most deprived wards in our area.”

Awareness of mental health issues and its impact on society has been in the spotlight thanks to the Heads Together campaign supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. This is helping to raise awareness, tackle the stigma and change the national conversation around mental health and wellbeing. It also provides vital help for people with mental health challenges.

In addition, earlier this year, the Prime Minister, Theresa May spoke about how the government is planning to transform mental health support in this country.