Mental Health Champions – Funded by Leargas and Erasmus+ Programme

We are absolutely so delighted, excited and honoured that our Mental Health Champions Youth Programme has been picked by the Selection Committee in Leargas under the Erasmus+ Funding Stream to develop the original pilot programme into a Train the Trainer programme with European Partners. The lead for the programme is Arron Galbraith.

The Mental Health Champions educational programme was designed by young people to support young people gain mental health awareness from a practical standpoint, in a creative and engaging environment that allows young people to openly and freely discuss any fears or myths they may have concerning mental health / ill health. This programme was piloted successfully during autumn 2017, in collaboration with three locally based youth projects (Trinity Youth Services, Donaghmede; St. Paul’s, Artane and Connections, Whitehall) with support from the National Youth Council of Ireland. The programme itself runs for eight weekly two hour sessions.

This ‘Train the Trainer’ objective ties in with the EU’s Youth Strategy, which aims to promote mental and sexual health, sport physical activity and healthy lifestyles. We aim to give participants the opportunity to explore and deepen their understanding of mental health and ill health in a supportive and non-judgemental environment.

The topics covered in the training will be:
What is Mental Health?
What is Mental Ill Health?
Gender and Mental Health
Challenges in Mental Health
Stigma and Stereotypes
The Language of Mental Health
Self Care

Our partners on this project are: Moray Wellbeing Hub (UK), JOETZ (Belgium), Youth Line (Greece), PiGreco (Italy), SFERA (Denmark), InfoEck (Austria), Psientifica (Portugal) and Youthfully Yours Gr (Greece).

The course content was developed through consultation and co-production with young people that have lived experience of mental health difficulties. Initially content was collected through consultation with a number of young people attending Willowgrove Adolescent Unit, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Service. This content then formed the basis of co-production processes involving an independent facilitator and a youth panel made up of youth representatives that have either their own lived experience or experience of a family members mental health difficulties. The young people felt that the content reflects information that all young people should have. The young people felt strongly that
it is important to gain mental health awareness from a practical standpoint. Similarly they felt it was important that a creative and engaging space be provided that allows young people openly and freely discuss any fears or myths they may have concerning mental ill health. With this in mind, the programme employs methods informed by non-formal learning methodologies in its delivery, these are traditionally used within youth work. The current programme, Mental Health Champions, is a Train the Trainer style programme that aims to give youth workers a framework that educates young
people on mental health and what to do if they have concerns about a peer.

Check back on the blog for regular updates.