Our project is a training workshop delivered free (through charitable funding) in secondary schools across Cumbria. During our Mates in Mind training we help young people to understand theirs and their mates mental health.
Through our one to one work with young people we became aware that young people had really mixed understanding of what it meant to have good mental health and if they had mates with negative mental health they really had no idea how to help them and that often caused friendship issue. Young people were sharing with us that they didn’t understand why understanding your Mental Health wasn’t being taught in schools as it is such a huge part of our everyday lives and with statistics like these in the UK, we began to this What if…?
20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year.
50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24
Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. In 2015, 1,659 young people took their own lives. Devastatingly that’s over four per day.
After lots of hard work Mates in Mind was developed. We have now delivered the project to over 2000 young people.
Our wish is to ensure each young person leaves the session feeling that they can make a difference to their own and to their mates mental health, encouraging everyone to be kinder to each other.
Mates in Mind was 100% co-designed with the help of some amazing young people. This ensured we were on track right from the start with the things that really mattered to young people, like what does it mean to have good mental health? How do I know if my friend is stuggling with their mental health? What do I do if they are thinking about suicide? What can I do to help? Whats it’s like to have anxiety?
Mates in Mind encourages young people to demonstrate everyday kindness when their mates are in a difficult place emotionally, helping them to reach out, to listen, to be helpfully nosey and to ask questions, to listen respectfully and to try and understand their mates and keeping to the simple task of being kind and keeping our Mates in Mind.
Here are top tip for being kinder to your mates and keeping them in mind
Signs – look out for signs they are having a hard time. Has their behaviour changed, do they seem more emotional that normal, have they withdrawn and doing less of the things they used to?
Talk – be helpfully nosey and ask them how they are doing? Keep talking to them, even if it's not about what's going on for them. Your mate will find it even harder if avoid them because you don't know what to say. Be honest, say if you don’t know what to say. But keep talking.
Listen - remember just listen, you don't have to know the answers but you can probably try to understand your mates worries.
Do stuff – be kind & help them, encourage them to do stuff they used to enjoy e.g. Cinema, sleep over, sports, gaming, shopping. Even if they say no keep encouraging them and keep inviting them.
Get help - remind them there is help out there e.g. from their parents, Doctor or school. Encourage your mate to speak up and talk to someone to get help. If you are worried speak up on their behalf and get help for them.
Remember if your mate shares or you are worried they are thinking about suicide (taking their own life) tell a trusted adult immediately and seek help.
Lastly Mates in Mind would like to ask that if every time you wear your “Be Kind” jumper or t-shirt, please think carefully about how the simple act of kindness can make a huge difference to someone around you who maybe having a difficult mental health day.
Many thanks for your kindness and support,