By Alan Hendry, Jump2it Schools Education and Development Coordinator
For the last year Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) have developed a young person led Mental Health Steering Group. This steering group which is led by Scottish Sports Futures’ Wellbeing Ambassadors is focused on developing peer to peer training around raising awareness and sharing knowledge on a variety of mental health issues facing young people from various communities across Scotland. The main aims of the SSF Wellbeing Steering Group has been to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health, tackle the stigmas attached, improve young people’s confidence and promote the positive benefits which being physically active can have on mental wellbeing.
In the coming three months the Jump2it programme will be working with SSF’s Wellbeing ambassadors to develop educational content for primary school children focused around raising awareness of mental health issues and changing young people’s preconceptions and stigmas surrounding mental health.
Following on from consultation with teachers and pupils from various schools participating in the Jump2it programme this year, educational content around mental health seems to be placed very highly on the school’s agendas and is considered to be very much relevant to their pupils. This subject has also been closely tied to social media and the use of online platforms. In addition, there has been a need identified by teaching professionals around raising awareness of online safety within young people.
Through consultation with teachers and young people alike, it has become evident that these two subjects go hand in hand, with the rise of social media use clearly impacting upon the mental health of young people. Social media has increased the prevalence of cyber bullying ten-fold and with young people’s social lives increasingly moving online, this can lead to many damaging effects around mental health.
Never before has the use of social media and online platforms been so ingrained into the lives of young people in today’s society. Only now, 15 years after the launch of social media platforms back in 2004 are we beginning to see how the use of this technology is negatively impacting on the mental wellbeing of young people within our communities. It is now time to take action and raise awareness of this issue with young people within schools and wider communities.
Through the Jump2it programme our aim is to use positive sporting role models to communicate to young people the negative impacts and risks associated with the use of social media and online platforms. Alongside this educational material developed by SSF’s Wellbeing Ambassadors will also be used to enable the Glasgow Rocks players to confidently speak to children about mental health, what this is, the stigmas attached to it and how we can best support each other to look after our mental wellbeing.
For more information on our Jump2it Schools Programme contact Alan Hendry – firstname.lastname@example.org