Thrive Edinburgh and StressLESS Collaboration
The Mental Health Foundation Scotland partnered with Thrive Edinburgh and secured funding from the Scottish Government Get into Summer funding scheme to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Scotland during summer 2021.
Get into Summer aimed to ensure that children and young people most impacted by COVID-19 were supported to create opportunities to socialise, play and reconnect over the 2021 summer holidays.
The Thrive Edinburgh collaboration is an innovative new strategy for improving the mental health and wellbeing of all citizens in Edinburgh. We worked with 22 community-based youth organisations as part of the Thrive Edinburgh collaborative who worked with young people in communities across Edinburgh.
These organisations delivered summer activities for children and young people across the city. The Get into Summer funding allowed them to enhance their planned activities, expand their reach and provide a vital wellbeing focus.
72 staff members from the 22 organisations took part in training in the use of the StressLESS Facilitator Pack to use and adapt as part of their summer activities. The aim of this was to provide engaging and interactive ways to facilitate conversations and empower young people with the tools and strategies to protect and improve their mental health and wellbeing.
97% of the training participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the training. They showed great improvements in their knowledge around mental health and well-being and their confidence in facilitating conversations about it with children and young people.
Around 2400 children and young people participated in this Get into Summer programme. The organisations worked hard to address the inequalities and barriers that participants faced which may have impacted if and how they engaged in the summer activities. Over 50 different activities were delivered across Edinburgh and further afield including rock climbing, radio workshops and graffiti art.
The training was pitched perfectly, I haven’t been on training that has been so valuable, good use of time and I can really see the benefit of the resource before I’ve even had the chance to start using it
One of the great things was being able to provide these new and rewarding experiences for these young people… For a lot of these young people, the places we go are places they’ve never been before… it’s being able to provide these opportunities free of charge and creating that space… [for young people] to be able to challenge themselves.” – Youth Worker, I haven’t been swimming in the sea for years and it’s literally made all my anxiety go away, when can we go again?
For the young people who participated, impact included increased confidence, new skills and learning, exposure to new activities, improved confidence and team-working skills, enhanced connections with local outdoor spaces and increased understanding of mental health issues.
The project evaluation highlighted that this Get into Summer experience had an impact in the following key areas:
- Friendships & reconnecting
- New experiences & re-engaging with activities
- Challenging perceptions about mental health and wellbeing
- Enabling connection for vulnerable groups
- Deepening relationships between organisations
- Mitigating risks associated with poverty
The Get into Summer Thrive Edinburgh and StressLESS collaboration offered a meaningful, extensive and inclusive opportunity to promote the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Edinburgh over summer 2021. Staff across the 22 organisations were equipped with knowledge, tools and resources that enabled them to empower young people to manage their mental health and wellbeing. We hope that these organisations will be able to utilise, adapt and implement this learning in their work with young people well beyond the completion of this project.
At the Mental Health Foundation, we will be working to reflect on the learning from the project's implementation and evaluation and explore opportunities for developing StressLESS on a larger scale and in different settings across Scotland.
A final, massive thank you to the Mental Health Foundation Scotland research team and Mental Health Foundation Young Leaders for their support with evaluation, the Thrive Edinburgh team and all organisations across Edinburgh who participated in this Get into Summer programme, and importantly, all young people and families who participated in activities over the summer.