The partnership began in 2021 as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns on people’s mental health were becoming increasingly obvious. Studies at the time showed that rates of anxiety and depression among Northern Ireland’s children and young people were around 25% higher than in other parts of the UK, with 1 in 8 experiencing emotional difficulties.

Through a wide range of fundraising activities driven by Danske Bank’s employees across its branches, contact centre, business centres and support functions, the Bank’s donation has been used to AWARE NI’s work with young people across NI. The majority of funds were used to develop and deliver the charity’s Mood Matters for Young People programme to more schools. The programme gives 14-18 year olds the knowledge and skills to maintain good mental health and build resilience to help deal with life’s problems and challenges.

In addition to the fundraising, Danske Bank and AWARE NI set out to support colleagues’ mental health and wellbeing through webinars, training and educational resources, and to help raise general local awareness of the mental health and the support available.

Karen Collins, Chief Executive of AWARE NI said:

“Our collaboration with Danske Bank has extended beyond fundraising, effectively raising mental health awareness amongst both staff and customers. This effort, distributed across its various internal and external channels, has contributed to a meaningful change in the mental health landscape here in Northern Ireland.

“Recent findings bring to light a stark reality—45.2% of 16-year-olds in NI are grappling with probable mental ill-health, and the well-being of 11-year-olds has reached its lowest score since 2016. These statistics speak of the pressing need for support for our young people and amplify the value of our partnership with Danske Bank and its lasting impact.

“Thank you to Danske Bank for their unwavering commitment, generosity and positive influence on mental health. As this chapter comes to a close, we reflect on the legacy of this collaboration and the positive strides we've made together in supporting mental health.”

Vicky Davies, Chief Executive of Danske Bank added:

“Few people will have been immune to the societal challenges of the last few years, including our own colleagues and customers, but in particular our young people. With half a million customers and over 1,000 employees we knew we had the power to make a difference.

“This has been a truly strategic partnership and one that our colleagues have fully embraced since day one. Their support has been incredible, not just through all kinds of individual and team fundraising challenges in their local communities, but also through raising awareness in branches and local communities and sharing their personal stories to help others.

“Investing in the mental health of our young people is vital, and it’s been our privilege to support AWARE NI to do that. A huge thank you to our colleagues and customers for their generosity over the last three years.”

Pictured are Grosvenor Grammar School pupils Harrison Finlay and Beth Johnston with Vicky Davies, Chief Executive of Danske Bank Karen Collins, Chief Executive of AWARE NI. Grosvenor Year 11 and 14 pupils went through the AWARE NI Mood Matters Young People programme supported by Danske Bank funding.

Four people stand outside a school holding an AWARE NI sign.