The Mental Health Foundation in 2016 released figures stating that 1 in 10 young people had a diagnosable mental health illness, and even more alarmingly that 70% of young people who had experienced a mental health problem had not received appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

The Foundation believes that many mental health problems are preventable, and that there is scope for interventions that reduce the number of people developing mental health problems.

Throughout childhood I was told of the importance of exercise and encouraged to join in with extra-curricular activities both on a team and individual basis: and whilst there is good evidence to suggest that physical activity benefits mental health, I don’t remember being told about the importance of looking after my Mental Health itself. I can remember feeling stressed, but not really knowing what to do about it and from my experience working with Children and Young People today, this situation continues even though we know that mental health is just as important as physical health.

Young people face an abundance of educational and social pressures. At York St John Mental Health Clinic we believe that helping young people to develop their own ‘toolkit’ to good mental health can contribute to the prevention of later struggles. Coaching is a developmental process, involving structure, focus and the use of appropriate strategies, tools and techniques to promote sustainable change. We are currently conducting research into an early intervention group programme, based on positive psychology and these coaching principles.

This exciting programme, which launches this year, will focus on a variety of fun, sports-based activities, giving participants a chance to build a “toolkit” that can be used and adapted throughout a variety of situations to strengthen Mental Wellbeing.

For more information on the programme contact, York St John Mental Health Clinic: cmhc@yorksj.ac.uk or call 01904 876072