Blackpool children’s club’s trek to mental health

Blackpool Boys and Girls Club members taking part in a Star Trek art project to help develop ways of dealing with stress and mental health issues
Blackpool Boys and Girls Club members taking part in a Star Trek art project to help develop ways of dealing with stress and mental health issues
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Youngsters promised to “make it so” and to “boldly go”in a Star Trek art project designed to boost their mental wellbeing.

The young people from the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club are taking part in an ongoing scheme to give them skills and techniques to prevent mental illness developing in later life.

With mental health taking up 23 per cent of NHS services but only getting half of that in funding, together with a major review of mental health services across the Fylde going on, the club’s leaders say giving children the ability to deal with mounting stress and mental issues can help in the future.

The Mereside children completed a worksheet based on the classic sci-fi film drawing inspiration from its famous catchphrases.

Asked how they think they could “Live long and prosper”, the children, aged from seven to 11, wrote about what they could do to live long, happy and successful lives.

Their answers ranged from the sweet to the sublime, including, “Help others and they will help you.” “It’s OK to be stressed … just not too much.” and “Try your hardest in everything you do.”

Youth worker Dave Blacker said: “Mental health issues are in the spotlight quite rightly at the moment and we know that 60 per cent of mental health issues start when people are under 16.

“Here at the youth club we want our children to have fun while also learning to be confident, resilient young people.

“As well as playing games, doing arts and crafts, enjoying outdoor pursuits and activity weekends and much more, we also create work for our children to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

“Through accessible colouring-in activities and worksheets we challenge the children to think about their futures, ambitions, emotions, relationships and much more.

“This work and the answers the children gave show just how emotionally intelligent they are.”

The youth club was gifted prizes of free entries to Blackpool’s attraction, Star Trek: The Exhibition, on the Promenade, to give to winners of the worksheets competition, selected at random.

The Star Trek work continues from the club’s earlier Angel Voices project and dedicated mental health work, which has been picked up by Park Community Academy and displayed in The Harbour mental health facility.

Children have learned about artists including Frida Kahlo, Maya Angelou, Edward Hopper and Marilyn Monroe, as well as using the Disney hit Frozen to learn to improve their social, emotional and cultural intelligence.