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Children’s mental health programme hits record number for support

Children’s mental health programme hits record number for support

by Danielle Thompson (September 2021)

AN award-winning  children’s  mental health programme, Tackling the Blues, has marked a milestone year  after  supporting  a record number of new children and young people  across  the  North West.

The  sport,  art  and education-based mental health awareness  programme,  delivered  by Edge Hill University in partnership with Everton in the Community and Tate Liverpool,  has engaged  with more than 1,500 children and young people across 20 schools in Merseyside and West Lancashire over the past 12 months.

Founded in  2015,  Tackling the Blues is delivered by  staff and students  from  the Department of Sport and Physical Activity and the Faculty of Education at Edge Hill University  and is  designed to improve the  mental health literacy  of  children and  young people aged six to 16 who are experiencing,  or at risk of developing,  mental illness.

Professor of Sport and Physical Activity, Andy Smith, and Dr Helen O’Keeffe from the Faculty of Education, both lead on the project at Edge Hill.

Prof Smith said: “To  have reached  a record number of new children  and young people,  despite the challenges the past year has presented,  bears testament to the hard work and dedication of the Tackling the Blues team. 

“Our  student  mentors and our partner schools  have worked tirelessly to  ensure that we can continue to  empower  the  next generation with the knowledge and skills  needed  to  improve their mental health literacy.”

Dr O’Keeffe added:  “Thanks to the efforts  of the Tackling the Blues team, more than 1,500 children and young people have joined  us on the  journey to break the stigma around mental health. We’re looking forward to the future and  will be building on the successes of the last 12 months to reach even more children and young people through our growing range of delivery models.”

Figures for the last academic year also revealed  that more than 600 Edge Hill students have engaged  directly  with the programme through mentoring and mental health training opportunities. 

More than  500 students received Ambassador of Hope training,  delivered by national mental health charity Chasing the Stigma,  which focuses on how to talk about mental health and illness, how to effectively find help and signpost using the Hub of Hope  resources  and what to do in  a  mental health emergency.

The past year also saw more than 500 students engage with external artists and Everton in the Community staff.

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