Supporting Mental Health in Scouting
Mental health can sometimes feel like a complex and intimidating subject. However, anyone can experience a mental ill health, so being able to talk about it's important to us all. And you don’t need to be an expert on mental health.
Often, small everyday actions can make the biggest difference. Scouting can play an important role in supporting mental health and wellbeing, as research has shown that young people who are involved in Scouts or Guides have better mental health in later life (Dibben, Playford & Mitchell, 2016).’
What is mental health?
Mental health refers to the way we think, feel and act. Everybody has mental health, the same way everybody has physical health, and we need to look after it.
If you go through a period of poor mental health, you might find that the ways you're frequently thinking, feeling or reacting can become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with.
Lots of things can impact mental wellbeing for young people and adults such as a challenging time at work or at school.
1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 young people experience a mental health problem (Mind, 2020).
Spotting the signs and symptoms
If you are concerned about an adult volunteer or young person’s wellbeing, try to stay calm and have a conversation with them. Where appropriate you might have a conversation with the young person’s parent or carer.
How to start a conversation
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families provide advice and guidance for adults working with young people and a helpful way of remembering how to promote mental health. They provide an easy model to remember how to approach mental wellbeing – CARE (Curious, Approachable, Refer and Empathy).
Promoting good mental health in your group
Some people find it difficult to talk about mental health and wellbeing. Being open and gently encouraging conversation helps mental health to become an everyday topic that people are more comfortable to talk about.
Just like our physical health, there are things we can all do to improve our mental health. The five ways to wellbeing have been researched thoroughly, and there is evidence to show that they can improve our ability to feel good and function well.
Additional help for young people
Phone: 0800 1111
Phone: 0800 068 4141
On My Mind: Information for young people to make informed choices about their mental health and wellbeing.
Text: YM to 85258
NHS Go: NHS confidential health advice and support for young people under 25. Download the app to your phone.
MeToo: MeeToo is a multi-award winning pre-moderated peer support app where young people can safely and anonymously talk to each other about their worries and problems and get immediate support. Over 43,000 young people have accessed MeeToo since its launch in 2017 and it is featured on the NHS Apps Library.
Additional help for volunteers
Samaritans: Samaritans offer a free service any time 24/7. If you need someone to talk to, they listen. They won't judge or tell you what to do.
Phone: 116 123
NHS 111: For urgent medical advice out of hours you can contact NHS 111. They can help if you have an urgent problem and don’t know what to do.
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