Our aim at stem4 is to support teenage mental health, raise awareness, build resilience and encourage early intervention.
I founded stem4 in 2011, after the death of a 16-year-old who had anorexia nervosa and whose school I became involved with in my clinical capacity. Since then we have extended our scope to work not only with students, parents and teachers but to provide information to school nurses and GPs in four specific areas of mental health commonly affecting teenagers – eating disorders, anxiety & depression, self-harm and addiction. We also advise on ways to enhance well-being and emotional resilience.
Talks are offered in conference format by mental health professionals and our ambassadors all have lived experience of dealing with mental health issues. We offer these conferences to students, parents, teachers, school nurses and GPs and we have had very positive feedback. We use feedback from our student conferences to help us develop our education offers, and they also promote a cascade effect through students delivering school assemblies as well as providing ideas that have helped us create a ‘school mental health toolkit’. Due to increasing demand, and because of our commitment to offer our services to schools that can’t access information about mental health as easily, we have produced a series of educational videos so that all schools can access this information.
Taking advantage of technology
As a clinician specialising in this field, I was really excited to be able to design and develop an app to help people manage their urge to self-harm. Since the launch of Calm Harm in 2015, it has been downloaded over 55,000 times. The app was developed with young people who provided their views on the design and on the tasks and a new version was released in April 2017. It is now available on NHS Choices.
Local Charities Day 2017
The contribution made by small local mental health charities such as stem4 is vital in complementing the work carried out by statutory organisations, as we can tailor our work to local people. Celebrating the work of local charities on this day is important because of the recognition it gives in helping promote our work, gives us the energy to keep up our fundraising efforts and also encourages linking up with other charities.
A message we pick up constantly from the children and young people we work with, as well as their families, is the importance of connection. We are celebrating Local Communities Day this year by promoting ‘Connect4 stem4’ – encouraging young people, their families and work organisations to spend 4, 14 or 40 minutes carrying out a fun activity whilst sharing something important about themselves.
Dr Nihara Krause
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Founder and CEO stem4