A YOUNG person from Bromsgrove who left school at 14 due to mental health issues launched a project to help others in the same situation at the start of the year and has been nominated for a string of awards.
Hannah Walton has struggled with mental health conditions since the age of eight following a traumatic incident and the severe panic attacks and distressing episodes got so bad she was unable to cope at school.
She suddenly found herself without the support that comes from schools, such as teachers.
She said: “I always wanted to set up an organisation for people who found themselves in the same situation and didn’t have that safety net that school provides.”
Towards the end of last year, during the pandemic, she entered a radio competition and nominated her mum for a prize to help her have a good Christmas. To her delight they won a cash prize and – after using most of it to make the most of the festive season – Hannah used the last of the money to set up a website.
On January 11, after acquiring the domain, designing the site and a logo, Hannah, now 21, launched the One/Third Project for 16 to 21-year-olds.
The One/Third title was chosen as statistically one in three people drop out of university due to mental health struggles, which resonated with Hannah.
She had a few different ideas for services it could offer, including mentoring, advice and signposting to other organisations which could assist people.
Mentors are in the process of being trained and it is hoped they will be available from July.
Hannah added: “They’re all volunteers, many are students and they all have a lot on at the moment so it is taking longer than expected.”
In total, the One/Third Project has a team of around 20 volunteers, each with their own small roles, supporting Hannah and the young people they work with.
Ahead of University Mental Health Day on March 4, Hannah contacted 50 people, including mental health and education professionals and students, and asked them a series of questions. They sent back videoed answers and Hannah put a short film together on YouTube (below).
Hannah is also planning a community website space which will provide a safe place for young people to meet up and talk about the similar issues they are facing.
“The whole point of the One/Third Project is it is youth-led.
“We want to give young people a platform so they can have their voices heard and help each other.”
While Hannah has been busy helping others, people have been nominating her and The One/Third Project for numerous awards.
Among them are two nominations in the National Diversity Awards, the Women’s Awards West Midlands (Outstanding Women’s category), the ‘Community Unsung Shero’ at the NBCC Awards and the Mental Health Blog Awards.
Hannah said: “It was a shock to receive so many nominations – I just want to thank all the people who have put me forward.
“I have had so much support from people, especially on Twitter, it has been overwhelming to know there are so many lovely people out there.”
Anyone wanting further information or to seek help from the One/Third Project should visit onethirdproject.co.uk for more.