Bavaria: Project U25 for young people at risk of suicide fears

Whenever it comes to mentally stressed young people in Bavaria, for example due to depression, fears and compulsions in the wake of the corona pandemic, the reference to U25 falls.

Bavaria: Project U25 for young people at risk of suicide fears

Whenever it comes to mentally stressed young people in Bavaria, for example due to depression, fears and compulsions in the wake of the corona pandemic, the reference to U25 falls. But the aid project is about to end because the funding ends. Even now there is not enough money.

Nuremberg (dpa/lby) - The online aid project for young people at risk of suicide called U25 Nuremberg, which is highly praised by the state government, fears the end of the loss of state subsidies. "We keep getting feedback that we are very important and that makes a lot of sense, but we just don't know how we're going to finance the entire project from 2025," said team leader Jenny Catsam of the German Press Agency.

"We have the funding approval until the end of 2024, but because this is usually one-off project financing and we are not a new project, there is a 90 percent certainty that the funding amount will not be continued by either the federal government or the state." At U25, specially trained volunteers of the same age support youth who are tired of life via email. This concept falls through the usual grid for permanent funding, explained Catsam.

Both the federal and state governments see an ongoing evaluation study as an essential step towards securing long-term funding, which is intended to scientifically confirm the effectiveness of the counseling service. "The aim is for the German Caritas Association, as the project's sponsor, to be able to acquire other donors (e.g. statutory health insurance companies, etc.) on the basis of such proof of effectiveness," said the Federal Ministry for Youth on request.

But the way through the tills doesn't seem to be a viable option. "Until now, health insurance companies have always said that only self-help or preventive health care is supported, and we don't fall under either of these," explained Catsam. "We were always turned away." In addition, the project cannot bill every individual case, as is usual with health insurance companies, since U25 works confidentially and has no access to the health card of the person seeking advice.

The response from the Bavarian Ministry of Health, which describes U25 as a "lighthouse project in an important field of activity", leaves a little more room for hope. On the basis of the evaluation study, a continuation of the project will be examined until the previous funding expires, according to the Munich ministry, which has so far provided a large part of the funding. However, the period of time for this is tight: the draft of the final report should be available by the end of September. Without further funding commitments, U25 would have to stop working at the end of December.

And U25 Nuremberg already needs a lot more than the 80,000 euros cobbled together by official bodies; The Caritas Association Nuremberg adds 8000 as a carrier. Because the demand from young people in crises has been so high, especially since the Corona pandemic, that the eleven U25 locations nationwide can only accept new people seeking help about a quarter of the year.

There would be enough potential volunteer "peers". But every email from the young counselors is checked by a full-time specialist - and their capacities are exhausted. According to their own calculations, U25 would need a total budget of 2.5 million euros per year to ensure 100 percent support for those seeking advice at all locations in Germany.

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