Project Iris - Growing Hope

Welcome to Project Iris – a new Inclusion programme designed to support those experiencing loneliness and isolation, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal ideation, thoughts and self-harm. 

Project Iris – Growing Hope 

Project Iris is a new Inclusion Education programme, designed to support young people from 11-25 experiencing loneliness and isolation, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal ideation, thoughts and self-harm. 

Every year at least 200 teenagers in this country take their own life, with ever growing numbers of young people experiencing mental health challenges. 

At Inclusion Education we have always worked hard to support and nurture young people in our care, placing mental health and well-being at the heart of all that we do. 

We know that our young people are facing a real crisis in their mental health at a time when more services, resources and supports are overwhelmed and facing cuts to funding and provision.  More than ever before young people are feeling lost and hopeless. We want to change this. 

Project Iris works with young people to help them understand more about mental health support then to find strategies and scaffold their recovery. Working with our team of mental health professionals, young people will explore their own thoughts and feelings, combined with access to green therapies.

The project has been funded as part of a £10million government funding boost towards projects and programmes designed to combat the devasting rise in suicide – particularly in young people.

We are one of 79 other charities throughout the country to have been awarded part of this funding for our project. 

Please remember, a young person does not need to be acting on suicidal thoughts to be considered, we offer these sessions in the hope to prevent such actions.  Where a young person has expressed some thoughts of hopelessness, feeling a burden, not wanting to carry on or are self-harming, these young people are in distress and meet criteria for our support.  We want to provide young people with coping strategies that they need now.  We are not an ‘instead of other support services or support within education’, we are to be considered as well as, an alternative provision offering a psycho education support alongside green therapy activities.

What are green therapies? 

The use and access to green spaces and green therapies has been well established as having a benefit to both mental and physical health. 

Studies have shown that it can be particularly beneficial supporting areas such as:  

  • Lowering levels of stress and reducing rates of depression and anxiety 
  • Reducing cortisol levels and improving general well-being 
  • Improving cognitive function and memory 
  • Psychological relaxation and stress alleviation 

Local therapeutic gardening charity Thrive agreed with these findings citing a survey of their 317 table-top gardeners which suggested 80% found the sessions beneficial to their mental health with 93% finding the sessions improved confidence and motivation.  

It also highlighted that attending regular outdoor activities with a shared focus and tangible results (such as horticulture can bring) have been shown to increase confidence and self-worth. Watching the progression of growth and development within nature can also support our sense of calm and well-being as well as engaging a focus separate from the usual pressures of life.  

These activities can prove vital in combating the impact of suicidal thoughts and ideation, offering young people an external escape from their own emotions.  

 By combining the benefits of these outdoor, green activities with the mental health and well-being knowledge and support offered by this programme we will be offering a lifeline to so many young people suffering from suicidal ideation and thoughts, helping to prevent this national crisis in young peoples mental health.  

 Who can refer?

Project Iris is open to 11 – 25 year olds who are experiencing loneliness and isolation, feelings of hopelessness,  suicidal ideation or thoughts, self-harm or suicidal attempts. 

Referrals can be made by schools, colleges, community groups, charities and mental health and other services. (as long as permission to refer has been granted by the young person/ parent/carer). Young people can also self refer.

To refer then please complete and submit an application form to us at 

If you are viewing from a phone or tablet please email us for a form.

Once the application form is received our mental health team will assess against the criteria and get in touch if suitable places are available. 

Please do look at our criteria and programme outline above or find more information from our FAQs below. 

You can also contact our team at:

with any questions or queries.