£500k help for school children with worries

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A mental health project to help pupils in Blackpool deal with any problems and worries has been set up thanks to a £500,000 grant.

The money has come from the Big Lottery Fund’s £75m HeadStart programme, and means pupils in the town can take part in a pilot scheme over the next year.

The pilot could lead on to longer-term plans using more HeadStart funding.

The HeadStart programme aims to develop ways of dealing with mental health issues before they become deep-rooted problems.

Focusing primarily on schools, HeadStart will offer a range of approaches, including peer mentoring, mental health ‘first aid’ training, online portals and special resilience lessons helping pupils aged 10-14 feel they have support in the classroom as well as at home and tackling the stigma that can often surround the issues of mental health.

Coun Ivan Taylor, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The early teen years can be a tough time for young people.

“The HeadStart programme will allow us to make sure that teachers and school staff are well prepared and trained to help young people; to make sure that they can spot if somebody is struggling emotionally and to offer help.”

The HeadStart programme in Blackpool will begin at Highfield Humanities College, Marton Primary School, Roseacre Primary Academy, Unity Academy, Claremont Primary School and The Willows.