Some of you may already be aware Isle Listen from workplace-based workshops. Reporter Rhian Evans went to speak to some of the team at Isle Listen to find out more about the charity as we enter Mental Health Awareness Week. Nestled cosily near Castletown Harbour, Isle Listen’s headquarters has got gorgeous high ceilings, colourful artwork on the walls with chairs that are as comfortable as they are cool everywhere.

The signature green of Isle Listen, which has become instantly recognisable around the island, was dotted around the place in a way that highlighted where you were without it being overwhelming. Everything had a comforting vibe.

Among its many services, the charity offers bespoke courses to help employers and employees build a toolbox of methods to support one another and enhance resilience.

The charity has seen burnout as the most common mental health issue among various businesses and wants to help companies change from a culture that expects a level of overworking to one that promotes a healthier work-life balance.

My meeting was with chief executive of Isle Listen Andrea Chambers, and two members of the wellbeing solutions team Gareth Nicholson and Rebecca Macnair.

Isle Listen is a relatively new organisation, but its green roots run deep in the local community. It’s origin story dates back 40 years. It all started with the Manx Cancer Help Psychological Services – a small team of people who supported the mental health of those affected by cancer – which later became Minds Matter.

However, with the development of Hospice IoM came the implementation of Hospice’s own psychological support team.

Acknowledging they were duplicating work, those behind Minds Matter realised there was a big gap in the market in supporting the wellbeing of young people. They saw the overwhelmed and under-resourced CAMHS service, which had a waiting list of more than 700 young people, and decided to take the brave step to put themselves into that arena.

After receiving funding from the Scheinberg family, the team set up a year’s pilot of their new service into two of the island’s secondary schools and that was how the Isle Listen model was built.

The Z Zurich Foundation pitched in soon after with more funding, allowing for a fully fledged service to develop along with the name ‘Isle Listen.’

When I asked if there were any surprises in the early days of setting up Isle Listen, Andrea, Gareth, and Rebecca all agreed the level of need by young people on the Island was unexpected. And since Covid, that need has spiked.

Isle Listen is designed to be an early intervention service in the hope it can help reduce the number of young people being added to the CAMHS waiting list.

It’s lead to the development of a team of qualified Isle Listen therapists who bridge the gap of seeing young people who need more than early intervention but aren’t poorly enough to need to be seen by CAMHS immediately.

The two organisations, along with the Department of Education and Culture, now collaborate frequently.

Though it might seem like the organisation is flourishing because of its positive place in our community, the charity relies solely on funding and is in urgent need of it. Isle Listen’s costs to function have soared from around £300,000 to £1.9million per year.

Due to the nature of the work, the organisation can’t rely on volunteers, so all the money goes towards backing a fully qualified team of clinical psychologists and trained therapists who provide free services to kids and young people in school and out.

‘It’s about making sure young people have a safety net but helping them build up enough resilience, so they don’t solely rely on that net’ says Gareth.

Speaking also as a dad of a 13-year-old who speaks openly about mental health, he said: ‘The main aims of Isle Listen was to stop the stigma of mental health and we’re starting to see discussions around it normalising not just in children but in adults in the workplace too.’

When asked about aspirations for the future of Isle Listen, all members of the team hoped to see mental health and wellbeing being part of the curriculum in all schools from an early age. Andrea finished by saying they’d ‘love to say the service is still available in five years’ time, while also having less people in need of it because of early intervention work.’

If you’d like to find out more about Isle Listen and find out how you can donate or volunteer, you can do so by visiting