Applications Open for “Bridging The Gaps: Strengthening Mental Health Support For Children And Young People”

Deadline: 28 June 2019

Comic Relief is seeking proposals from those working on providing mental health support to children and young people at an early stage so that they are aware of their mental health and can build resilience as they grow and develop.

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Comic Relief would like to fund proposals that are particularly focusing on vulnerable children and young people from groups underserved by current services, because they believe that services should be inclusive and support those most in need. They are particularly interested in (and will prioritise funding for) proposals that place partnership working at the heart of the bid.

Proposals should be working on two or more of the following areas:

  • tackling stigma and discrimination,
  • increasing access to quality service provision,
  • strategic / systemic changes at local and/or national level

Target Group

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This funding opportunity aims to support vulnerable children and young people from underserved groups within the following age ranges:

  • 5 to 24 years in the UK
  • 5 to 30 years in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia (Comic Relief is applying a later age limited in these countries than the UK to take into consideration the different age definitions for young people, and the engagement of young people in education at an older age in these countries)

This will mean that children and young people are supported at an early age and through critical stages of their development and growth and will also help to prevent severe mental health problems later in life.

Funding Information

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  • Funding is available for a mimimum of 3 to a maximum of 5 years. Comic Relief will not be considering proposal that are for projects below 3 years of funding; and
  • They will fund investments between £150,000 up to £700,000. Any requests for funding out of this range will not be considered.


Globally these are the issues Comic Relief want to address with their funding:

  • High levels of stigma and discrimination prevent children, young people and/or their families from speaking out and seeking support. They may be afraid to speak up for fear of being rejected, stigmatised and/or ostracised. In particularly challenging contexts children and young people could be at risk of being persecuted, housed in mental health institutions, shackled or chained up;
  • There are too few services available to meet the needs of people experiencing mental health problems, and awareness of availability is low. The treatment gap in high income countries is around 50% and this rises to as high as 90% in some lower-middle income countries, which is home to over 80% of the global population;
  • In lower-middle income countries they know the quality of available treatment can fall below acceptable standards. In the UK, quality services are available, however people may be unable to get support due to long waiting lists;
  • Many of the services that exist focus on short term interventions, with less focus on early intervention, building resilience and longer-term support;
  • There is a gap in support for parents and family members with children and young people at experiencing or at risk of mental health issues;
  • There is a gap in mental health legislation and policy. They also recognise existing policies and mental health legislation need to be appropriate, properly funded, adequately implemented, refreshed, and made available in traditional settings, with input from people and organisations who have experience of mental health.

Eligibility Criteria

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  • Income requirements and funding limits:
    • Comic Relief will fund no more than 40% of applicants’ organisation’s total income in any one year. For partnership bids they will only be reviewing the income from the lead partner;
    • For organisations who have an income that falls below the minimum requirement they would strongly encourage applicants to partner with an organisation that does reach this minimum income requirement;
    • Applications can be made by organisations with an annual income level not exceeding £10m GBP, as stated in their last set of accounts submitted to the relevant authority. In the UK organisations will need to have a minimum annual income of £250,000. Outside the UK, the minimum annual income is £75,000.
  • Partnership and organisation requirements:
    • Proposals can be made by single applicants; however, partnership proposals will be prioritised.
    • Applicants are welcome to include collaborations with government organisations (noting Comic Relief will not fund government agencies).
    • While Comic Relief encourage religious organisations to work in partnership with other agencies to deliver mental health support, they will not fund activities which evangelise (the practice of preaching or spreading religious beliefs) or proselytise (the practice of trying to convert people to one’s own belief or religious views).
  • How many proposals applicants can apply for:
    • To give as many organisations as fair a chance as possible, organisations can only submit one proposal (though they can be named as partners on any number of applications). Please be aware Comic Relief will never read more than one proposal per organisation.
  • Types of work:
    • Funding can be used to cover specific project activities, or a combination of activities and organisational core costs or overheads. Comic Relief understand the difficulties organisations encounter in securing core running costs and they are happy for organisations to include full cost recovery; and
    • They are interested in both existing work and in piloting new approaches and partnerships. For proposals that undertake a new approach, applicants should please consider how they will document the success of the work and how they will learn from the work and detail this.
  • Where Comic Relief will fund:
    • Projects must be delivered in: Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria, United Kingdom or Zambia.

Hwo to Apply

Applicants can apply via given website.

For more information, please visit

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