Tackling the Blues is a sport, physical activity and education-based mental health literacy programme, which supports children and young people aged 6-16 who are experiencing, or are at risk of, developing mental illness.
The programme is delivered by The Department of Sport and Physical Activity and The Faculty of Education at Edge Hill University (EHU) and Everton in the Community (EitC), which is the official charity of Everton Football Club.
Currently funded by the Premier League Charitable Fund (PLCF), the programme engages primary and secondary schools and community groups throughout Merseyside and West Lancashire.
These areas include some of the most deprived local authorities nationally, where statistics highlight children and young people experience inadequate health outcomes. Weekly sessions are delivered to 14 school groups, engaging more than 650 children and young people.
Tackling the Blues offers a range of interactive and engaging activities, with young people participating in tailored educational and peer-led activities which focus on conditions associated with mental illness.
Weekly physical activity and classroom-based sessions include competitive and non-competitive activities which have been associated with positive behaviour change among those experiencing mental illness.
From consultation on the project's logo, to what topics they would like to discuss during peer-mentoring activities, children and young people have been involved in the planning, design and implementation of the project since its inception.
Each year, the project has involved extensive consultation with education professionals who act as project collaborators, help to identify suitable participants, and deliver peer mentor workshops. The programme adopts a peer mentorship model, where student mentors from EHU are trained in accredited mental health courses.
This unique peer-mentor approach helps to position them as positive role models, which is an important feature of the programme.
Overall, Tackling the Blues aims to promote children and young people’s mental, physical and emotional literacy and improve their self-esteem and confidence.
In doing so, Tackling the Blues supports those currently experiencing mental illnesses and hopes to diminish the chances of other children and young people developing mental health problems.