Youth Health Champions programme expanding across Hertfordshire

17 March 2016

Youth Connexions Hertfordshire has been awarded funding by Health Education England to develop pupil-led Emotional Well-being Programmes in six more Hertfordshire Schools.

Mental Health Pic With Banner

As part of the ‘Future in Mind’ initiative that aims to improve whole-school approaches to fostering resilience, Youth Connexions is now able to offer schools a fully funded opportunity to enhance the emotional well-being of students and school communities.

The Royal Society for Public Health’s Youth Health Champions programme is exclusively delivered in Hertfordshire by Youth Connexions, who along with partners will train and then work with Champions in six schools to develop emotional well-being groups that can support pupils, staff and the wider community. 

This forty hour, Level 2 course, certified by the RSPH, trains cohorts of up to 15 students to become advisers, able to signpost and cascade critical health messages and even share some basic health advice for some concerns.

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.

Each cohort will go on to help design and run new in-school activities developed by the Emotional Well-being Group that will form from Champions and supporting adults (including teachers, school nurses, school counsellors, heads of PHSE, heads of pastoral care, governors, local services and CAMHS school liaison officers).   The Emotional Well-being Groups aim to improve the awareness of sources of emotional wellbeing support, access to early help, and improved resilience.

Since September 2014, four groups of students have completed this training and now six more schools will get this opportunity and add to this growing movement.

Youth Health Champion Jamie said “It’s been such a privilege to be able to train as a Youth Health Champion.  Part of taking on this challenge was to be able to give back to the community.”

County Councillor, Richard Roberts, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said, “Who could fail to be impressed with the young people who take part in the RSPH Youth Health Champions course? Their efforts are making a real difference and their achievements are an inspiration to us all.”

Jim McManus, Director of Public Health commented, “RSPH Youth Health Champions combines high quality knowledge and skills to a national assured standard with the enthusiasm of Hertfordshire’s young people. I hope this will build our next generation of Public Health workforce. As an RSPH Fellow I am proud to have this programme in our area.”

Schools interested in training their students as Youth Health Champions should contact debi.roberts@hertfordshire.gov.uk