The importance of wellbeing
One in three young people are suffering from mental troubles such as depression, negative feelings or inability to focus, according to research published in 2018 by Action for Children. The findings suggest that more school-age children than previously thought are struggling with their mental and emotional wellbeing, including problems sleeping properly.
The most common problems experienced by young people are feeling depressed or anxious, displaying restless sleep and an inability to shake off negative feelings, even with the help of family and friends. Young people sometimes express how they find it hard to “get going”, cannot focus on what they are doing or feel that everything is “an effort”.
Simple interventions, especially early on, can be an effective way of supporting young people in their mental and emotional wellbeing. Art and creativity are particularly helpful as they enable young people to explore the pressures they are under, and the emotions they create, in a safe and constructive way.
Youthscape have developed an after-school course, based at Bute Mills, that uses art as a way of exploring their mental and emotional wellbeing. It is primarily preventative, aimed at helping those with low-level mental health struggles better understand themselves and avoid serious future decline. The programme is structured around six practical themes which focus on positive actions to improve wellbeing: resting, thinking, talking, eating, moving, and doing.
The programme uses different forms of art that are accessible and rewarding to young people from a wide range of artistic abilities.
Young people will complete the course with a collection of their own work that are also displayed in a celebratory exhibition open to the public. Most importantly, they’ll also leave with invaluable emotional tools to help them process their feelings, recognise and talk about their struggles, and generally improve their wellbeing.
Courses run for eight weeks and draw young people from different schools and contexts. Although some are nervous of attending for the first time, the team are experienced at helping young people feel at ease, and the groups quickly connect and form a strong bond. The first Created exhibition was held in July 2019 and some images from the event can be seen above and below.
Who is Created suitable for?
- Young people aged 11 to 14 who are interested in creativity and art
- Young people who would benefit from learning simple emotional well-being skills
- Young people at the early stages of struggling with their mental wellbeing
What will young people learn?
- How each course theme relates to their holistic wellbeing
- How to recognise when they are struggling in one of these areas
- Creative skills to help them stay emotionally healthy
- How engaging in art can help their wellbeing
- How to further their existing art skills
Getting advice and making a referral
Created is offered at no cost as part of Youthscape's work as a local charity in the community. For any enquiries please get in touch with the Created project lead Jess Whittaker, using her contact details on the side of this page. To make a referral, complete a referral form for the young person.