As Action for Children marks Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), the charity recently celebrated its Bouncing Back Plus mental health partnership with Ospreys in the Community with a huge event at the Academy of Sport in Llandarcy.
Hundreds of primary school children joined the celebrations and were treated to rugby sessions, craft workshops, music therapy and mental health classes with Ospreys star, Lloyd Ashley.
The charity teamed up with the rugby region’s community arm over the autumn and spring terms to deliver a combination of classroom-based Cognitive and Dialectical behavioural therapy (CBT and DBT) techniques and physical exercises such as touch rugby on the playground.
Bouncing Back Plus has become increasingly important as recent Action for Children research showed nearly a third of children across UK (32%) said that school does not provide enough emotional support for them with 28% of parents agreeing.
The children the charity polled in Wales were the least satisfied with support received in schools with 28% saying they received a great or good amount of practical support and only a quarter (25%) reporting getting the same level of emotional support.
Caryl Dyer manages the Bouncing Back Plus programme for Action for Children in the region and said: “The celebration was wonderful. We wanted to run an event to celebrate the success of the programme as we’ve worked with 15 primary schools and almost 800 children in 6 months. The programme is critical for the mental health and wellbeing of our primary school children especially in light of the Covid-blighted period they have been through.
“We wanted to invite everyone along and enjoy a bit of normality and the elements of mental wellbeing and physical exercise in lots of different workshops. It’s been a roaring success working with Ospreys in the Community, the partnership has gone from strength to strength and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it,” she added.
Holly, 11, from Coed Hirwaun Primary School enjoyed the celebration and said: “It’s been really good and a lot of fun. We did lots of activities and I really liked doing ‘capture the flag’ and making stress balls.”
Tyler, also 11, from Pontlliw Primary School, added: “The day was fun, I enjoyed the rugby and the stress ball class. I enjoyed all of it, really.”
At the end of each Bouncing Back Plus programme, each participant receives a Mental Health First Aid Kit, providing them with resources that support them to manage their mood and sustain improvements in their emotional wellbeing. The process also supports us to identify those young people who may need a higher-tier intervention.
Tom Sloane, Foundation Manager at Ospreys in the Community, said: ‘It’s really good to see that this programme is around supporting kids, building confidence, resilience and supporting mental health and wellbeing through physical and emotional sessions.
“The celebration ties off the last two years really nicely and it’s great to do that in partnership with Action for Children.
“It’s a really positive relationship we’ve got as official charity partners and we’re looking forward to the next year working together as this programme grows and hopefully, we can help even more children.’
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