Shining example of empowerment

Date: Monday 11th February 2019

THE growing problem of mental ill health among children and young people is well documented, with hard-pressed schools and health services struggling to offer the levels of support and intervention needed.

The causes of this rising tide are debatable, but relentless pressure created by social media, which has been enthusiastically embraced by the young in particular, has long been held to be part of the problem.

Against this national backdrop, sixth form students from four Eden secondary schools are leading a project titled Share a Smile, aimed at raising awareness of mental health issues throughout the district.

The year-long project is funded by Cumbria County Council and backed by Carlisle Eden Mind. It aims to celebrate and support good mental health and boost the emotional resilience of children and young people.

Random acts of kindness will be used as a tool to spread and encourage a positive spirit throughout the community.

The sixth formers involved will receive training and act as “champions”, able to offer mentoring and support to their peers and younger children.

Mental health problems affect about one in 10 children and young people nationally, with repercussions often experienced by the young person’s family and their friends and classmates.

The Share a Smile project is a shining example of young people joining together and becoming empowered to help their peers.

The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health, and it is to be hoped that Share a Smile has a strong positive impact which will resonate throughout Eden and far beyond.