Children and young people in Leeds to benefit from new youth-led mental health projects
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs May 10-16, and as part of the council’s Child Friendly Leeds Ambition, a range of new resources are now up and running including peer support opportunities, a guide to creating a youth ‘well-being club’ from Leeds Youth Council and a website sharing advice on managing stress and anxiety by Leeds Children’s Mayor.
The children’s mayor and Youth Council, along with the city’s three members of Youth Parliament are some of those in the council’s ‘Youth Voice’ initiatives who collaborated on the new resources.
Leeds Children’s Mayor Samuel Hill, a year six pupil at Carr Manor Community School in Moortown, worked with his classmates on developing the Helping Hand website for local primary school pupils, featuring a variety of ideas and activities designed to combat stress and anxiety.
He said: “I know as a child that lockdown has affected everyone and this is why I’ve wanted to create the website. Helping Hand is all about giving the
Leeds City Council has worked with youngsters on its various ‘Youth Voice’ initiatives who have reported increased feelings of stress and anxiety among their peers due to remote learning, collapsing bubbles, uncertainty over exams and assessments, lack of social contact and worries about the future.
children of Leeds the resources to lift their mood and create somewhere to share any tips and de-stress and improve well-being.”
Pupils in Leeds schools can also train as ‘School MindMate Ambassadors’ and run activities to boost mental health.
The ambassador training programme - a collaboration between the council’s Health and Wellbeing Service and local charity Space2 - guides pupils on how to create a ‘well-being’ space, make a mental health pledge wall or run an assembly on mental health.
The Yorkshire Evening Post has continued to shine a light on the issue of mental health through our #SpeakYourMind campaign which was first launched in 2017 and is now timelier than ever.
Fiona Venner, executive member for children, family and adult social care, said: “We’re incredibly proud that young people from Leeds have drawn on their own experiences during the pandemic to create valuable resources to help their peers improve their mental health and well-being.”
Sal Tariq, director of children and families, said: “Enabling Leeds children and young people to thrive and enjoy positive mental health is at the heart of our ambition to be a Child Friendly City. As these initiatives show, Leeds City Council works hard to empower children and young people in our city to use their voices and experience to make a difference.”
Visit the MindMate Leeds website, mindmate.org.uk, for more information.
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