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.