TyneMet College are winners of the StreetGames mental health and wellbeing award 2019. The national awards recognises projects from around the UK that are contributing to physical health, mental health, individual development and social development through sport.

TyneMet has won due to its Safe, Fit and Well project. The project is a referral system through pastoral tutors that creates an opportunity for students struggling with their mental health to gain support through a gym membership, personal training and an individual gym program. The referral process has been improved this year following training for Sport Development staff to increase the knowledge around signs, symptoms and risk factors linked to mental health.

There have been a number of awareness sessions delivered to students throughout the academic year about mental health and what they can do to support their wellbeing, but if they need additional support where they can find that at the college. There has been a number of referrals through the project this year with 80% increasing their physical activity within the first 3 months of taking part in the project and the majority showing an improvement in their mental health. The college has a commitment to #21by21 and has recently put 12 staff members through their Youth Mental Health First Aid training as part of the nationwide campaign to upskill staff to support mental health.

 A positive example of this project from a student who was referred into the project by his tutor as they noticed his workload was building up which was impacting on his stress levels. The student described himself as out of shape and the cost of a gym membership made it difficult to be active, but he wanted to lose weight and improve his running, “I found it motivating and I now love doing exercise because you can see the result.” With the boost being involved with the gym sessions he lost two stone which made him feel more confident, happier and closer to achieving his dream job of going into the Royal Navy. The project has also benefited his mental wellbeing as he feels less self-conscious and his tutor has noticed an improvement with his academic studies as he is now able to get assignments in on time.

 The Sport Development team have all completed the Youth Mental Health First Aid training through StreetGames and this has led to raising awareness of mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, depression and self-harm, leading to an environment where students have felt comfortable to be referred into our Safe, Fit & Well project. Along with our commitment to the Sport & Recreation Alliance Mental Health Charter the college continually assesses how to can improve mental health support.

 Craig Robson, Sport Development Manager, said “The Safe, Fit & Well project is something we are really keen to develop and thanks to StreetGames we’ve been able to upskill our staff to ensure we can promote a positive environment when discussing mental health. To see many if our students come through the project has been really inspirational, not only for other students, but staff as well. The aim is to continue to reduce barriers to ensure we can offer the best support possible linked to physical and mental wellbeing.”

To find out more about the project, contact Craig Robson at craig.robson@tynemet.ac.uk