Academics to look at project

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A new national scheme to improve the mental health of secondary school pupils will be evaluated by academics at Leeds Beckett University.

The Active in Mind project, which launches this month led by youth sport charity the Youth Sport Trust to improve the physical, social and mental wellbeing of youngsters, will be piloted in 25 schools across the country.

Chris Wright, head of wellbeing at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The decline in physical and emotional wellbeing of young people has never been so prevalent as it is in today’s society. Evidence demonstrates the link between physical activity and good mental health, as well as higher levels of academic achievement and higher levels of wellbeing overall.”

The project will see 250 young people, aged 15 to 18 years old, act as mentors to 750 young people experiencing mental wellbeing issues, supporting them in becoming physically active. The Active in Mind mentors will in turn be supported by a lead adult wellbeing champion. The project will provide an alternative approach to simply addressing the mental health of the participant, by also tackling their physical health and social wellbeing.

Professor Jonathan Glazzard, principal investigator of the Active in Mind project at Leeds Beckett, said: “We will rigorously evaluate the impact of the project on the mental and physical health of both the mentors and young people. We will also produce an online toolkit to support schools in developing their approaches to peer mentoring in sport.”

The project will be the first major piece of research undertaken by the new Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools at Leeds Beckett University.

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