Last week we launched our Mental Health Ambassador Programme in Kent where Tommy and I delivered part 1 of the Mental Health First Aid Youth Programme to 13 sixth form students at Canterbury Academy.
It was a good opportunity to find out from these students what their current understanding of Mental Health is as well as hearing their own reasons for attending the course, which mainly centred around supporting their peers and deepening their own knowledge. It was empowering to see their passion and enthusiasm for the course content and we were able to facilitate some interesting discussions around different mental ill health conditions and behaviours.
One of the activities at the start of the course, asked the group to choose 4 young people who act as case studies throughout the course. Each character represents a section on the mental health continuum and this really helped the group to consider the risk factors and protective factors that impact their friends and peers. As the course progresses, the characters form part of other activities with the end goal being recovery. Without giving too much away, it’s a very practical exercise and one which you can take away and reflect on.
We look forward to heading back to Canterbury Academy this month to deliver the second half of the course which will also reward the group with a qualification in Mental Health First Aid. Once qualified, the students will be ambassadors within their sixth form and school setting, working with their teachers and senior leadership team as well as being a point of contact to their peers. This is just the start of normalising conversations around mental health and stamping out the stigma.