AFC Fylde Community Foundation has launched a new outreach programme to raise awareness of mental health issues in young people, working with 14 primary schools in the local area.
Over 300 pupils have so far participated in both classroom-based and physical activities aimed at strengthening resilience, while raising awareness of support networks available to anybody experiencing mental health difficulties.
Using football as an engagement tool, the foundation hopes to tackle the social stigma attached to mental ill-health and help young people better understand their own mental wellbeing.
The new programme, led by the foundation’s health and wellbeing coordinator, Nathan Davies, is being delivered to year five and six pupils along the Fylde coast.
Tracey Stock, sports leader at Newton Bluecoat School said: “With the support of AFC Fylde Community Foundation, the children have designed and delivered their own mental health programme, which has impacted positively on their own happiness and learning.
“The pupils have told me how great it has been learning about how exercise can have a positive affect on your mental wellbeing, as well as your physical health, and how endorphins react in your body.”
Nathan Davies, health and wellbeing co-ordinator at AFC Fylde Community Foundation, said: “It is incredibly rewarding to see the kids engaging with this project and learning how to cope better with mental health issues. We’ve tried to show the importance of looking after your mental health in the same way you would look after your physical health and exercise is a great way to do this.
“We are confident that the programme will provide positive results and give the children involved the tools to deal with mental health difficulties and encourage them to discuss these issues with their family or friends.”