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Suicide rates have risen among young males aged 10-14, and among females of all ages since 2013 in the UK. In England, a quarter of 11-16 year olds, and nearly half of 17-19 year olds (46.8%) with a mental disorder reported that they have self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point in their lives (Source: State of Child Health in the UK, RCPCH (2020)).

None are more acutely aware of the devastating effects of poor mental health than the Mason family. Rob, Esther and Ben Mason tragically lost their 14-year-old daughter and sister, Kezia, to suicide in March 2022. They have used their anguish to work tirelessly to drive awareness of suicide prevention and raise money to support the mental health of children and young people aged 5 to 25 and their families. Their fundraising efforts tell a wider story about how prevalent the problem of teenage mental health is in Jersey, having raised over £125,000.

To ensure such a sizeable amount of money is spent effectively and efficiently on this growing issue, Kezia’s family set up ‘Kezia’s Fund’ with Jersey Community Foundation (JCF). JCF manages charitable funds on behalf of a number of donors in ‘Donor Advised Funds’ (DAFs). JCF approaches all DAFs as partnerships, working closely with the donors to ensure their giving goes to worthwhile causes in the areas they are passionate about. Kezia’s Fund is now one of JCF’s Themed Funds, and a number of donors have collectively contributed an additional £40,000 to the fund. As an alternative to establishing a DAF, donors can contribute to JCF’s Themed Funds by donating either one-off or regular gifts.

Kezia’s Fund provides grants and support to organisations that work to improve children and young people’s mental wellbeing; and Kezia’s family are involved in the assessment of applications and decision making, along with support from a newly formed grant panel, which includes a number of professionals working in the area of mental health.

Kezia’s Father, Rob Mason says, “As a father who has experienced the devastating loss of my much-loved daughter – who would have turned 16 this week– to suicide, our family felt compelled to establish Kezia’s Fund so that no other family in Jersey has to lose another child to suicide. We firmly believe in the importance of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our Island’s children and young people, as well as their families, by strengthening tangible and meaningful preventative support.

“When awarding money to charitable projects, we prioritise applications that demonstrate a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by this vulnerable age group. We seek initiatives that foster resilience, offer comprehensive support services and promote early intervention. Additionally, we value projects that prioritise collaboration, innovation and a clear plan for the long-term.

“Through Kezia’s Fund, we aspire to bring meaning from her death and create a lasting positive impact on the lives and mental health of young individuals and their families in Jersey. By raising money and working with local projects that focus on youth mental health, we want to ensure that no child or young person or their family faces the darkness of mental health challenges alone.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has raised money for and contributed to Kezia’s Fund. We would also like to say thank you to the Jersey Funds Association who raised an incredible £12,500 for Kezia’s Fund at their annual dinner on Friday 14 July.”

In the first grant round, a total of 11 local organisations, groups and charities were awarded £109,689 from Kezia’s Fund in June 2023. Three of the 11 beneficiaries – Thrive Jersey, The Jersey Youth Trust and Family Nursing & Home Care – are featured below as we look at how they are using their funds to bring about support for our Island’s children and young people and their mental health:

Thrive Jersey, £10,000

Youth Suicide Prevention Advocacy

Thrive Jersey is a collection of community innovators united by a shared mission to research and find solutions to social and environmental issues which drive low mood and poor mental health.

One of their projects – the Jersey Suicide Prevention Alliance – is the Island’s only initiative focussing solely on suicide awareness and prevention. As in the UK and further afield, Thrive Jersey believes that suicide needs to be spoken about more openly and that this is best achieved by equipping our community with more knowledge so that they can become advocates within their social groups.

The Youth Suicide Prevention Advocacy project is based on similar global initiatives, and aimed at ensuring that every secondary school in the Island has at least 10 appropriately trained and supported suicide prevention advocates (staff and pupils aged 15+), who will act as points of reference and support within their year groups.

The advocates will also act as positive role models both in person and through social media, promoting positive behaviour and calling out behaviour that has the potential to increase the risk of poor mental health or wellbeing.

Following the training, an ongoing network will be formed to ensure that advocates have access to the latest subject data and information and that they remain supported in their advocacy work.

The Jersey Youth Trust, £5,404

Wellbeing Days

The Jersey Youth Trust is a charity that provides young people aged 25 and under with access to free and confidential counselling, wellbeing support, information and advice. This is offered via the ‘Yes Project’ – a drop-in service at Eagle House, La Colomberie in St Helier where young people can visit without an appointment and speak to a youth worker or counsellor in a safe space.

The YES project’s latest service – ‘Wellbeing Days’ – is a one-year pilot and aims to provide up-to-date and relevant information and advice to young people so that they can make informed choices in their life. Specifically, it focusses on opportunities to learn coping strategies that promote good and resilient mental health in a safe and relaxing space facilitated by professionals.

Seven wellbeing day sessions will be delivered between 1 August 2023 to 31 July 2024 during the school holidays and cater to all secondary school year groups (from Year 7 to Year 13). Each day’s activities will be tailored to suit the unique needs of each year group with a maximum capacity of 30 participants per session. The sessions are open to young people already accessing the Yes Project, youth clubs, schools, other agencies and the Jersey Youth Service’s social media pages, and sign-up will be available for free via Eventbrite.

Embracing the overarching theme of the five ways to wellbeing – ‘connect’, ‘get active’, ‘take notice’, ‘learn’ and ‘give’ – each session will incorporate activities that promote holistic wellbeing. The sessions will take place at the Crabbe Residential Centre in St Mary’s countryside, providing convenient access to the beach, vast green spaces, cooking facilities and indoor classrooms equipped with computers and interactive whiteboards. For added convenience, a pick-up and drop-off service will support young people facing transport challenges.

Family Nursing & Home Care, £14,460

Emotional Gym

Family Nursing & Home Care (FNHC) is a charity that carries out health and care services in Jersey – from their Baby Steps programme to school nursing, and from home care to palliative and end-of-life care.

The Emotional Gym initiative aims to empower children who are struggling with their emotions and/or mental health. Developed in-house by mental health professionals within the School Nursing team at FNHC, the Emotional Gym engages children to explore their physical and mental health over several relaxed group therapy sessions.

A key characteristic of the Emotional Gym is its split session approach, carefully balancing physical exercise with open discussions and education focussed on good mental health and wellbeing. By incorporating exercise sessions at the outset, children are able to settle into their surroundings and cultivate a receptive mindset for the ensuing deep conversations about their mental health.

The Emotional Gym has been thoughtfully designed to gradually enhance each child's involvement with their own mental health journey, as well as to underscore the significant connection between mental and physical wellbeing.

This programme is intended to be implemented regularly as a preventive measure in schools where demand for mental health support is high, as well as in response to critical incidents like child suicide. Not all children facing mental health issues are on a risk register, so the Emotional Gym serves as a proactive service that reaches out to those who may be silently suffering and offer them much-needed support.

Looking ahead, Kezia's family and JCF are committed to sustaining their impactful efforts in supporting children and young people's mental health. As well as the sponsorship income from Kezia’s Run, income from funds raised by the Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the Jersey Funds Association, who have both chosen Kezia’s Fund as their charity of the year, will be added to the Fund. Continual contributions are essential, so please kindly keep Kezia's Fund in mind while engaging in fundraising efforts.

There will be a further opportunity for organisations to apply for funding from Kezia’s Fund at the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024. This funding will continue the legacy of Kezia's Fund, ensuring that the substantial funds raised are used to address the prevalent issue of child and young people’s mental health in Jersey.

By prioritising initiatives that promote resilience, comprehensive support services and early intervention, the aim is to create a long-lasting positive impact on the lives of young individuals and their families. The ongoing collaboration between Kezia's family, JCF and local projects dedicated to youth mental health will support children and young people so that they don’t have to face the darkness of mental health challenges alone.

DONATE to Kezia’s Fund at


TAKE PART in Run4Kezia

Date: 10.09.2023

Time: 10K at 8am | 5K at 9.15am | 2K at 10.15am

Location: Waterfront

Sign up to Run4Kezia and raise money to support the mental health of children and young people in Jersey. All money raised will be added to Kezia’s Fund. Sign up at

Other organisations awarded money by JCF on behalf of Kezia’s Fund in June 2023:

Honouring Kezia’s memory on what would have been her 16th Birthday, JCF releases details of how ‘Kezia’s Fund’ is supporting the mental health of Jersey’s children and young people.

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