Ten Young Ambassadors from Northern Ireland attended a Youth Mental Health First Aid course delivered by the Trust's athlete manager, Adam Whitehead recently. The attendees are all on the DfC Uniting Communities Young Ambassadors programme which aims to engage young people in sports, physical and creative activities that bring communities together and help create the next generation of community leaders.

Youth Mental Health First Aid courses are for everyone who works with, lives with or supports young people aged 8-18. They teach people the skills and confidence to spot the signs of mental health issues in a young person, offer first aid and guide them towards the support they need. A large part of the work the Young Ambassadors do in Northern Ireland is with young people aged 11-16 and this training is designed to support them in their work in the community.

Some of the Young Amabsassdors on a recent trip to Liverpool

Back in 2018, a survey undertaken by the Prince's Trust showed that almost half of young people in Northern Ireland have mental health problems - which is almost double than reported in England - and referrals to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Northern Ireland increased by 21% in three years up to 2019. Against a backdrop of divided communities and years of austerity, the mental health of young people in Northern Ireland is a hugely important topic and one that the Young Ambassadors are keen to tackle.

Lauren:

The training this weekend was incredibly informative and great learning in relation to strategies in supporting young people with mental health conditions. As Ambassadors it is important that we inform ourselves on the area of mental health as it is something everyone in society can be affected by and in our roles we can help to promote positive mental health and challenge the stigma around it.

 

Nicole:

I thought the MHFA training course was incredibly insightful. It gave me the opportunity to expand my understanding of so many different mental health issues faced by people in the UK, specifically from the frame of reference of a young person. I feel inspired and motivated to share what I've learned with my peers and I hope to be able to expand my knowledge further in the future so I can optimise the impact I can hopefully have in Northern Ireland

 

Pearse

I thought the training was extraordinarily helpful, insightful and provided understanding on an issue that's so prominent in our society in general, not just young people. As young ambassadors, we don't just want to build a united community, but a tolerant and helpful one that encourages support over stigma.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust are pleased to support the #21by21 campaign to provide 21,000 community sport coaches and volunteers with mental health awareness training by 2021. You can find out more sign up to pledge your support for the campaign here.

The Trust is able to deliver Mental Health First Aid training to organisations across the country as well as to youth organisations. To find out more, please see the dedicated page on our website here