Saints join forces with Cowley for mental health message

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Saints continue to lead the way by delivering mental health messages to school children.

Year 11 students at Cowley International College have participated in an innovative programme aimed at building emotional resilience.

‘Stay in Play’ was designed in conjunction with Saints Community Development Foundation (SCDF) and delivered by mental health professionals, academy players and A Star Angels.

It encourages children to stay well, know themselves and start to challenge the stigma of mental health.

As well as using the government’s 5 ways to wellbeing, it also highlights crucial mental health builders, such as assertiveness and problem solving skills.

SCDF is the first Rugby League Foundation to deliver mental health awareness presentations in secondary schools – and will be expanding their programme into the primary education sector too.

Eddie Cunningham, SCDF Mental Health Ambassador and Walter Brennan, a mental health specialist, wanted the message to be delivered by young trainers who pupils could identify with and aspire to be like.

Course Designer, Walter Brennan said: “This course is special for a number of reasons. We want to get children whilst they are well and help them to build resilience to stay well, instead of waiting until a child develops anxiety or depression.

“We also challenge the stereotypes about mental health in schools and highlight just how important young people can be in understanding their own feelings or maybe observing a change in a friend’s mood or behaviour.”

Club legend Eddie added: “We knew we could build on the excellent reputation we have with schools in Merseyside, but more importantly we decided to train a number of the academy players and cheerleaders to give the message more credibility with young trainers and it’s been an absolute success.”

More than 160 pupils attended the first tranche of sessions in the first week of delivery.

Cowley is the first school in the country to receive this course and SCDF already have more secondary schools and Primary schools signed up to receive the same message.