Originally Published in the Sheffield Star Online by Sam Jackson. 8/8/17
Schools and colleges across South Yorkshire are to get first aid kits to cope with mental health issues of youngsters.
Sheffield-based charity The Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project has developed the kits, which are much like a traditional first aid box, with youngsters across South Yorkshire.
The kits will include supplies to help young people cope and resolve a number of mental health issues such as glitter jars, stress balls, lavender dough, wristbands and colour therapy books. The charity has also worked with a group of teenagers to create 31 tips for better mental health – one for each of day of the month – designed to manage symptoms alongside support.
The first 50 kits and advice will be distributed among schools and colleges, with others being adopted by organisations across South Yorkshire, in time for World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Chilypep participation co-ordinator and mental health trainer, Chantelle Parke, has been working alongside young people, including Barnsley mental health campaigning group OASIS, to create the kits.
She said: “What we are aiming to achieve with the Mental Health First Aid Kits is parity of esteem. We want mental health to be seen as equally as important as our physical health. “It’s common to see first aid kits in every office, classroom and public space, why shouldn’t there be mental health first aid kits too?”
“Many of the supplies in the kits are distraction techniques. They include things like squeezing a stress ball instead of punching a wall, or using a marker pen to mark where you would normally cut.”
For the last two years, Chilypep has also been consulting with young people to improve services, the quality of support available and access.
Chilypep are partnering with creative arts therapy group Hear My Voice to celebrate the distribution of the kits, which are funded by Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, on World Mental Health Day.