Youth Connexions is helping inform thousands of young people about mental health

23 May 2016

Mental health and emotional wellbeing are a national priority, and Youth Connexions is helping ensure that Hertfordshire makes this an area of significant focus.

Hertfordshire County Council Youth Connexions has led a key initiative that both raises awareness of mental health as something that young people should not be shy of talking about, and signposts the support available to them.

Hertfordshire is one of the first local authorities in the country to deliver the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) ‘Youth Health Champions’ programme in secondary schools.  Youth Connexions is working with partners to deliver this forty hour, Level 2 course, training cohorts of up to 15 students to become advisers. The students are then able to signpost and cascade critical health messages and even share some basic health advice for some concerns.

Youth Health Champions Youth Champions 2

Emotional wellbeing is so important to these students from Tring School that they volunteer their time after school (two hours a week) to train as Youth Health Champions.  Here some of the students are starting to think about a campaign to promote wellbeing in their school.

Each course has the potential to impact over 800 pupils, improving their understanding of emotional health and how to maintain or improve their well-being and resilience. Peer health messages can extend beyond the immediate student body or project and be used to meaningfully engage with other youth groups and projects, primary feeder schools, hub schools, parents and the wider community.

So far Youth Connexions staff have:

  • trained some 60 students to be mental health champions
  • secured funding to deliver an extended version in 6 schools meaning by the end of 2017 60 more students would have completed this course
  • been filmed by the BBC and ITV
  • been interviewed for the Times Education Supplement and the national practitioners’ publication Children and Young People  Now
  • given key note speeches at the Optimus Mental Health Conference
  • been setting up Emotional Well-Being Groups with potential to cascade critical messages to 48000 other students and improve PHSE practice in six schools and their consortiums

Contact Debi Roberts for more information Debi.Roberts@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Find out more about Youth Health Champions

Find out about support offered by Youth Connexions concerning mental health