There is a clear consensus that the state of young people’s mental health has declined in recent years. 850,000 children and young people suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder including depression, self-harm and anxiety. With 24-hour social networking, bullying on and offline, and ever increasing school pressures can take their toll on the emotional wellbeing of children. Despite 75% of all enduring mental health problems beginning before the age of 18, shockingly, only 0.7% of the NHS budget is specifically allocated to children and young people’s mental health services. Things do not seem to be improving either, according to statistics, the mental wellbeing of teenage girls has worsened in recent years (The Department for Education). Among the girls surveyed in the report, 37% described feeling unhappy, worthless, or unable to concentrate. This week, ChildLine also reported a record numbers of children calling over suicidal thoughts.
Claire Sankey owner of Dust & Dance is passionate about responding to this mental health crisis and wants to use her experiences of mental health illness to make a positive change for others. In 2015, Claire created, Dust & Dance, an emerging start-up specialising in chunky, festival glitter. Dust & Dance’s mission is “to embrace young people to embrace their differences, celebrate their youth and be confident to be themselves”.
In an honest interview, Claire expressed to me why she wants to support young people’s mental health.
Where did the idea of Dust and Dance come from?
“I was going to a festival last September with some friends and wanted to buy some chunky glitter. I had seen photos of other people wearing similar at festivals but couldn’t find it in any of the shops and very little online. When we got to the festival it cost £10 to have glitter put on your face, and I didn’t want to pay that much money! The next week I was thinking about it and did some research on sourcing chunky glitter and decided if there was a demand for it (from people like my friends and I) and very little available then it would be a good little business to start up. I also wanted to give people a more affordable option than paying to get glittered at festivals, and the opportunity to get creative with glitter designs yourself!”
What did you decide to support mental health?
“The vast majority of my customers are girls aged 18-25. When I was that age I know life was very turbulent at times, partly because of some mental health issues I had battled for years, which had been misdiagnosed and I had never been given the correct treatment while I was a teenager. When I was younger it was very scary and lonely, I didn’t understand it and I wasn’t given much help. I wanted to do something to help anyone who is in the situation I was in. I also feel a responsibility as a business owner marketing to this age group, to promote openness in talking about mental health, self-love and positive body image.”
Claire is supporting the work of YoungMinds by generously giving 10% of profits to their work and services. YoungMinds is the leading mental health charity for children and young people.
Written by Esther Dark.