Strictly Come Dancing contestant Tyler West has joined forces with The KFC Foundation and Comic Relief to dispel the stigma of mental health and shine a light on support that is available.
Since 2019, the KFC Foundation has raised £3 million for Comic Relief to support charities that help young people fulfil their potential.
New research shows Gen Zs are still more likely to suffer in silence or deal with a serious life event themselves, before seeking help.
Seven in 10 Gen Zs believe there is still a stigma around issues including mental health, homelessness, abuse, and unemployment.
What’s more, nearly one in 10 have never had a discussion with someone who could help them, and of those who did reach out, it took them more than five months to ask for support and advice.
Reasons for this include not wanting to be a ‘burden’, fear of being judged – and simply not knowing where to turn.
Blackpool, Strictly Come Dancing contestant and KISS Radio DJ, West, has previously worked with young people suffering mental health issues and plans to make a documentary focusing on the effects of trauma on teenage mental health, telling his own story in the hope he can inspire change.
West said: “The work of organisations funded by KFC Foundation’s partnership with Comic relief, like Streetlife in Blackpool, is incredible.
“I can relate to needing support and being too afraid to ask for it, but I also know how much impact that support can have on a young person’s life.
“That is why funding from Comic Relief is so important. It translates into real life benefits for real people when they need it most.”
The research also found that for those who are yet to go through serious issues, 59 per cent claim they would try and solve it themselves before trying to get help and 37 per cent believe there is either not very much help, or no help at all, for younger people in these circumstances.
Only six per cent would consider seeking help from local charities. Of the 53 per cent who have known someone going through a crisis in their life, 42 per cent said this person stayed quiet about it for ‘a long time’.
The KFC Foundation has been raising funds for Comic Relief in a bid to help organisations in local communities across the UK – such as Streetlife in Blackpool – provide safe social spaces, mentoring, employment and social skills for young people.
Streetlife helps, mentors, coaches, and advocates for homeless young people in the local community to make a stable home and find their feet so they can think about their future and take steps towards it.
Kaitlyn, 19, Streetlife beneficiary, said: “I’ve been with Streetlife since November 2021 and have pretty much been with the project every day for the past year!
“We build bonds between people, and everyone gets to know each other, so it’s something I’m grateful for.
“I believe that if more people spoke out about their experience and what they’ve been through, it would help make it easier for other people.”
Since 2019, 5p from every Sharing Bucket at KFC has gone to Comic Relief and to celebrate Red Nose Day this year, that donation is being upped to £1 between 13th – 17th March.
Fans can also get their hands on a limited-edition reversible KFC bucket hat, from which at least £7 from each sale will go towards Comic Relief.
Because as we know, a Bucket Shared is a Problem Halved! To buy a Comic Relief x KFC bucket hat, please visit https://kfcshop.co.uk/products/kfc-foundation-x-comic-relief-bucket-hat
Louise Norris, KFC Foundation Manager said: “The work that local projects do in communities is invaluable and the KFC Foundation’s role in supporting them is something we take really seriously.
“The impact that our partnership has had on the lives of thousands of people is great to see, but there is always more work to be done and we look forward to working with grassroots organisations, charities, and non-profits well into the future to help young people fulfil their potential.”