Tackling the Blues, an award-winning sport and arts-based education programme, has launched a series of online bitesize lessons to help teachers support children and young people’s mental health during the lockdown.
Developed in partnership with Edge Hill University, Everton in the Community, and Tate Liverpool, the new five-week programme, BLUES, has responded to the pupil mental health and well-being concerns faced by schools in their partnership.
BLUES stands for:
- Boosting your mood
- Uncertainty and dealing with it
- Emotions: anxiety and frustration
- Self-care and checking in
The programme is underpinned by the New Economics Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing, with Edge Hill University students designing the programme in their roles as Tackling the Blues student mentors. The 48 student mentors have developed content to help schools across Merseyside and West Lancashire with the aim of connecting whole-school approaches to mental health and well-being.
Professor of sport and physical activity, Andy Smith, and Dr Helen O’Keeffe, from the Faculty of Education, both lead on the project at Edge Hill. They said: ‘This past year has been an incredibly testing time for teachers and pupils across the country. That’s why it’s more important than ever that teachers are empowered with the tools to support better mental health and well-being for their pupils.
‘We can’t wait to return to delivering the programme in person and are aiming to be in a position, restrictions permitting, to deliver the full Tackling the Blues programme following the Easter break.’
Lathom Park Primary School in Ormskirk is one of the schools enrolled on the BLUES programme. Teacher, Evan Fraser, said the programme has: ‘provided an insight into how important it is to focus on emotional literacy,’ and for their pupils to understand their own mental health and well-being.
Michael Salla, director of health and sport at Everton in the Community said: ‘Our Tackling the Blues programme has continued to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape since its launch in 2015 and in particular the last 12 months. The introduction of the online BLUES Bitesize programme is the latest addition to the programme and something that will also be utilised to meet the mental health and well-being needs of children nationally and internationally.’
Supported by funding from the Office for Students, Research England, and the Premier League Charitable Fund, Tackling the Blues uses a student-focussed model to provide innovative ways of engaging students in knowledge exchange to improve their knowledge, understanding, and experiences of mental health in education in local communities.
Dr Deborah Riding, programme manager, Children and Young People at Tate Liverpool said: ‘Being able to deliver this activity online to schools during the lockdown, using arts and sport to help get positive mental health messages out to young people, has been a significant achievement.
‘The online sessions the partners have developed together has helped give schools flexibility at a time when they needed it and is beneficial to them and the pupils as an on-going resource. It has also provided a great opportunity for the student mentors to develop their digital skills which will be a huge asset to them when seeking employment.’
For more information about Tackling the Blues, visit its dedicated Twitter page.