Youth work champions (2016)

    Training youth workers at London Youth to promote mental health and wellbeing

This pilot project, funded by the Big Lottery’s Awards for All programme, aimed to test our Champions training programme for use with young people, by training youth workers at London Youth to use Mindapples materials to support young people of all ages.

The Mindapples training programmes have been shown in controlled trials to improve the wellbeing and resilience of young people. Meanwhile, the Mindapples “5-a-day for your mind” campaign tools have been used by hundreds of organisations and individuals to promote public mental health, including having been incorporated into Young Minds’ youth support programmes for many years.

This project aimed to combine these two strands of our work, by taking what we’ve learned about scaling up our campaign and applying it to our training programme. We developed a train-the-trainer programme to share the key insights from our training programmes with participants and support them to adapt our materials to help people they cared about.

For our first trial of this new approach, we teamed up with our friends at London Youth to deliver our Champions Training to their youth workers and ask them to try them out with the young people they support. The aim of the project was to develop the Mindapples Champions training programme to benefit disadvantaged young people in London.

The project

Mindapples adapted its workplace training materials, which equip adults with knowledge and skills to maintain their mental health and wellbeing, to create a wellbeing champions training course to help non-clinical staff promote public health and wellbeing. With the Big Lottery’s support, Mindapples delivered this Champions Training to youth workers in London Youth’s network, and evaluated it using follow-up questionnaires.

34 youth workers attended the full training and completed the evaluation. The training was held as two separate 2-day courses at London Youth’s offices. Follow up materials were also provided, including a facilitators’ guide with full notes on all the training materials.

Initial feedback from the youth workers was extremely positive, particularly about the design of the materials. The course originally designed to cover four modules of the Mindapples training in the first day, with the second day used for practising delivering the materials. However, it was reorganised in consultation with the youth workers to allow more time to discuss the content, with three modules on the first day and the final module the following morning. This was to ensure that all participants had time to discuss and digest the content, and still allowed time for them to practice delivering it on day two.

The facilitator guide underwent various changes to incorporate suggestions from the participants about ground rules and things to remember when facilitating sessions, and we incorporated a number of suggestions from participants on how to run sessions and specific tips on communicating the content. We also developed a session outline template for participants to use to note down how they’d used the content with their young people, which was co-designed with the youth workers and is now being used to help them share best practice.

The youth workers said it would help their young people, but also that they felt it helped them significantly too – that their wellbeing was important and that they had tools for supporting themselves, so that they could support their young people better. A full summary of their feedback is included in the project report below.

If you would like to trial this train-the-trainer model for mental health promotion in your schools or youth services, please get in touch.