Mermaids helps offer life-saving services to young people and their families. With a helpline like that closed – albeit temporarily – it means that people had one less network to go to.This could mean that a young person in a mental health crisis or a parent unsure how to respond to their child coming out can’t get the specialised advice Mermaids offers.Access to support for young people is shown to be absolutely vital for them.
Ultimately, this disruption means that there will be more people without it long term.While they don’t offer any medical services, they are an important point of call for young people and their families.
They help them to find a safe haven, explore, and find themselves.Most importantly, Mermaids allows young people to express themselves however they want, without judgement.During this recent storm surrounding Mermaids, a now-resigned trustee of the charity and associate professor at London School of Economics (although his faculty page on the LSE website now says he’s ‘on sabbatical leave until January 2023’), was found to have attended the B4U-ACT conference – an organisation that calls for paedophiles to have the right to live ‘in truth and dignity’ – as a PhD student in 2011.The charity’s chair of trustees, Belinda Bell, said that he ‘should never have been appointed’ in the first place, and they were unaware of his connection to this conference until the news broke last week.
Thankfully, he had only been a trustee since July this year and had no direct interaction with any of their young people or their families, and only attended one board meeting.Despite the charity addressing the issue immediately and effectively – they said they were ‘commissioning a review’ of their ‘trustee recruitment.