A sports-based programme targeting young people aged 8-14 who are experiencing, or are at risk of, developing mental health problems, Tackling the Blues is run in partnership with Everton in the Community, Edge Hill University and Parenting 2000.
With funding provided by the NHS Southport and Formby, and NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the programme offers a range of interactive and engaging activities for young people, who participate in tailored educational and peer-led activities to tackle experiences of conditions associated with mental illness and poor mental health.
Weekly coaching sessions are currently delivered to just under 300 young people in primary schools, secondary schools and community groups across Sefton where increased mental illness is most prevalent amongst young people. The sessions include competitive and non-competitive activities which have been associated with positive behaviour change among those experiencing mental illness.
Tackling the Blues adopts a personalised approach with young people helping to design the sessions to ensure that all activities are centred on their needs. From consultation on the project's logo, to what topics they would like to discuss during the peer-mentoring workshop activities, young people have been involved throughout the design and implementation of the project.
Volunteers and coaches provided by Everton in the Community and Edge Hill University deliver 14 sessions a week across all groups.
So far, 24 young people have successfully gained a recognised qualification as part of a three-day event at Goodison Park, achieving a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Level 2 qualification in Healthier Food and Special Diets.
Further events are also in the pipeline for Tackling the Blues in the near future.