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Mental Health First Aid Kits to be launched on World Mental Health Day

Tagged In:  Mental Health

The Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project (Chilypep), have created Mental Health First Aid kits, which will be distributed to 50 schools and universities across South Yorkshire in time for World Mental Health Day on October 10.

The kits are part of the #NotJustMe campaign run by the Opening up Awareness and Support and Influencing Services (OASIS) group of young people aged 16 to 25 in Barnsley, which is facilitated by Chilypep. The campaign is an on-going effort to breakdown the stigma surrounding mental health.

Chilypep’s Participation and Mental Health Training Co-ordinator, Chantelle Parke, states that one of Chilypep’s main aims is to raise the profile of young people’s mental health.

"...We want mental health to be visible and prioritised and treated as equally as important as physical health,” stated Chantelle.

According to the UK Office for National Statistics, the percentage of young people suffering from symptoms of anxiety or depression was 19 percent between 2014 and 2015.

“Across the country, mental health services are being cut and yet demand for treatment is soaring. Young people need to be encouraged to be mindful of their mental health, feel they can talk to someone if they are struggling and most importantly know where to go for help,”
said Chantelle.

These kits are a way to increase visibility of mental health awareness and a means to improve signposting primarily in schools so young adults can be encouraged to ask for help and be pointed in the right direction.

“Mental health is hardly ever touched upon from what I’ve seen in schools. With P.E., if you had a broken leg you’d be allowed to sit out but if you had a breakdown emotionally it maybe wouldn’t be dealt with because teachers don’t know what to do. That’s why it’s a good idea to have the Mental Health First Aid kits as a first point of action,” expressed Rihanne, age 19 and a member of OASIS.

Each kit contains materials that young people can use to help calm them in stressful situations and help them cope. The young people of the OASIS group chose the contents of the kit which contain, glitter jar making materials, a booklet of 31 relaxation techniques, a #NotJustMe stress ball, positive and encouraging notes, a fidget cube and instructions for making lavender dough which is a calming and distracting activity.

"...For me, I find the glitter jars very versatile and their uses. You can use them as a distraction if you’re distressed or watch the glitter twirling before you go to sleep to relax you and help you sleep,” said Holly, age 18, a member of OASIS and former student at Barnsley College.

In the future, the organisation hopes to distribute the MHFA kits nationally across several counties because they want all children and young people to have improved access to mental health services and continue to have the voices of young people heard.

“As a youth empowerment charity, the views and opinions of the young people we work for are always at the forefront of what we do. With a project like this, it is incredibly rewarding to be able to take those views forward and give young people a platform to make their voices heard and affect real change in their communities and the wider world,” said Chantelle.

The organisation will be pictured in the next issue of the Social Work News Magazine to be launched on October 2. If you want to learn more about the organisation and its other projects, you can find the website here.

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