For almost a decade, we have been there to support young people from across the globe. We’ve been a confidante, a counsellor and an advocate for change. What started as a 15 year old’s dream to change the world has become a lifeline for young people across the globe. From 2019 to 2020, over 5 million young people accessed the Ditch the Label support website, a breathtaking example of our reach, but also a sorrowful reminder to the extent in which young people are currently struggling.
With this growth comes the acknowledgement of two things: that bullying is not an issue in isolation and that the depth of challenges facing young people is growing.
Firstly, we have consistently found that the perpetration of bullying generally is the outcome of a challenging or difficult root issue. These issues vary, but can include: poor mental health, difficult home life, stress and trauma, insufficient digital and media literacy, poor body image and self-esteem, stereotypes and unconscious bias. If our mission is to prevent bullying, then surely we must grow our remit and start to focus on some of the root causes.
In 2019, we launched our sister brand, ‘Ditch the Label Education’, as a response to the lack of provision in the prevention of bullying in schools. We also wanted to recognise a growing issue of teachers struggling to find appropriate, impactful and engaging resources to teach students on issues such as cyberbullying, mental health, unconscious bias and digital literacy. The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive, with clear evidence to show that it is driving positive change within schools and colleges across the UK.
Secondly, we want to acknowledge that young people are seeking our support on a wider range of issues. Whether it’s advice on coming out, improving their mental health or addressing poor body image, our trained mentors have been there to help them navigate the tough stuff.
It is with all of these valuable learnings and against a backdrop of almost 10 years of research and innovation that I am proud to announce that Ditch the Label is organically evolving from an anti-bullying charity, to a youth charity. From now, our support, education, research and advocacy will focus on a wider range of issues: bullying, mental wellbeing, identity, relationships and digital literacy.
This decision follows a lengthy consultation process with stakeholders and young people, along with a huge multi-year journey of research and development. As an organisation, we are constantly learning and growing, with much of the process being led by the changing needs of young people.
I hope that you share my personal excitement and enthusiasm and I very much look forward to seeing Ditch the Label’s impact continue to grow and evolve.
Founder and CEO