Emma O’Connor, author of Everyday Happy, is currently raising funds towards the opening of the Happiness Now Community Hub, a centre for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. This social venture will be a space for young people to feel at home, connect, create, learn, have fun, and envision a positive life for themselves. It will be open for drop ins, host workshops and classes, and provide a signposting service to help families find the best path for their child. “Children with mental health problems need support, and so do their families…my vision is to provide an inclusive space to provide that support”
Our children and young people are suffering. 50 percent of mental health problems are established by the age of 14, and with long waiting lists and expensive private care many of these kids don't get help in time.
They are also being undervalued and ignored. I watched a shift from my beautiful little boys walking into shops to be welcomed by smiling staff, to my not so little boys walking in to looks of distrust.
Same shop, same kids.... just older.
When my own son became desperately anxious at just 9, and we spent the next 2 years finding ways to help him recover, I decided then my mission was to help and support other families, to give children and families empowerment and to give them hope.
I started Happiness Now as a social venture to fulfil this aim. The Happiness Now Community Hub will be a centre for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing, providing a welcoming place for your young people to go and hang out with friends, study, access helpful adults, attend classes and workshops, make friends, and in essence create a sense of connection and community.
We will also provide an apprenticeship and employment scheme to train and hire young people in vocational roles, provide a signposting service to help families develop the best possible path to mental wellbeing for their children, and also funding to help families access services that may be financially out of their reach.
At its core, this is a community centre, with the children and young people as our main focus, and happiness as our driving force.