Poverty And Mental Health: How We’re Bridging The Gap With SMILE 

 6 October 2022

By  Karen Cruise

The cost of living crisis is creating a huge problem for families.

A new study has found that half of UK children will suffer as families have to sacrifice daily essentials to pay for necessities such as food and heating.

Studies by the New Economics Foundation estimate that 43% of families live below the Minimum Income Standard, a measure of the quality of living.

For children, the poverty they experience can have a drastic and long-lasting effect.

For example, children in the lowest 20% income bracket are up to three times more likely to develop mental health problems.

With a decline in young people’s mental health over the last few years and the worsening cost of living crisis, Flourished Minds is seeing a significant downturn across the areas we work.

How Poverty Affects The Wellbeing Of Young People

While the cost of living crisis dominates the headlines, the news largely discusses the effect on the economy rather than its real impact on families.

Many children face huge inequalities through being part of a low-income household.

This includes;

  • Being four times more likely to have a poorer general health
  • Experience worse behavioural and cognitive outcomes
  • Lack the money to buy resources that could improve children’s lives
  • Greater risk of lower educational results and attainment levels
  • Being 10 months behind of highest-income children in terms of problem-solving skills
  • Greater risk of poorer physical and mental health into adulthood.

Why SMILE Was Born

After coaching young people living in abject poverty, Flourished Minds founder Karen felt compelled to do more.

But, what was important to Karen, was that her contribution was what children really needed.

Despite their circumstances, these children were creative, inspiring and full of potential.

While coaching was working to improve their mental health, confidence and resilience, she saw how practical support could really amplify these results.

So, Karen assembled a team of young people, children, parents and supporters to create SMILE, a way to make a difference for children in poverty with what kids really need and can help them thrive.

How SMILE Is Making A Difference

Working with a team of young people, SMILE is solely focused on what really matters to children who are facing poverty.

SMILE has donated warm clothing to support those facing a heating crisis.

We have also recognised the importance of books, which help young people break the educational inequality cycle and find a world from which to escape.

We know that the balance of practical items alongside supportive coaching can make a huge difference in children’s lives.

Poverty Blog Post Image - SMILE Christmas Wish

Can You Help Us Fulfil A Christmas Wish?

We know that the cost of living crisis and child poverty can feel like problems that are too big to solve.

But, from our past projects, we see the amazing impact we can make on children most in need.

This Christmas, we want to go bigger.

We are determined to fulfil a Christmas wish of buying a present for every child across five schools in Leeds and Bradford that otherwise may not receive a gift this Christmas.

Just £20 can buy a child in poverty a Christmas gift. This present can provide the practical essentials and items that can also support their emotional and educational well-being.

Across the region, we’ve identified 870 children who will likely go without a gift this Christmas.

We’d love your support with our fundraising campaign so that we can fulfil a Christmas wish and ensure that no child goes without a gift this year.

We’d really appreciate your support in our Christmas Wish – please donate what you can here.

Every donation, however big or small, is so gratefully appreciated by the SMILE team and the young people we work with.

Find out more about our Christmas Wish here.

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Karen Cruise - The Young People's Life Coach

Karen isn’t only an experienced, accredited coach, she’s also a hard-working mum with many years of employment in the corporate world, the last 10 at a very senior level.

She’s been described as dynamic, intuitive, unstoppable when it comes to helping young people live their best lives.

You’d be hard-pressed to find to a CEO more committed to helping your child succeed.

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