Blackpool mental health scheme backed by forme health chief

Rosie Wood, 14, and her nan Val Sweeney working together on the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club's mental health questionnaire
Rosie Wood, 14, and her nan Val Sweeney working together on the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club's mental health questionnaire
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A former health chief has backed a ‘unique’ new scheme to help tackle mental health problems in Blackpool.

A youth group in the resort is working with youngsters to help raise awareness and teach them to stay ‘mentally fit’.

Blackpool Boys and Girls Club is working with eight to 18-year-olds across its Mereside and Brunswick centres, encouraging them to talk to parents and tackle problems before they arise.

They are asked to fill in a questionnaire looking at ways to stay healthy and happy.

Former manager of primary care mental health services in the resort Ashok Khandelwal, said: “I am pleased to endorse this project, it is unique and is designed by youngsters of Blackpool Boys and Girls club.

“Good mental health and wellbeing is important to all of us.”

Youth worker Dave Blacker, from the boys and girls club, said: “One in four people suffer mental health problems of some kind – it’s touching every family.

“What’s different about this is we are asking them to work with an adult from their family on this.”

It is hoped the activity will help the youngsters learn to cope with difficult situations by changing they way they think about them.

And by promoting good mental health early in life, Mr Blacker hopes to prevent problems escalating.

“It is not being delivered at crisis point,” he added. “All the mental health work we have undertaken in the last few years has been aimed at prevention and resilience building.

“Most of our work has come about as a direct result of including the thoughts and ideas of our young membership which we believe gives it a unique edge.”

And the group has enlisted the support of Blackpool Zoo, which has offered a family ticket to be given to a randomly-selected person who completes the questionnaire.

So far, around 50 have been handed out.