Samaritans give North Lincolnshire children lessons in mental health

As issues surrounding the mental health of children hit the headlines Scunthorpe Samaritans are working to ensure they can look after their mind as well as their body.

A team of volunteers visit children in Year 7, aged 11 and 12, in secondary schools across North Lincolnshire to teach them about caring for their emotional health.

Now the charity has struck a new partnership with Burton Juniors Football team which will reinforce the message among more young people.

Dave Wildman is one of three Scunthorpe Samaritans volunteers who work to raise awareness of mental health issues in schools. The children are encouraged to create a life for an imaginary child, their age, called Sam or Jo. And then they think about the problems Sam or Jo could be facing in their life.

Dave Wildman, Deputy Director for Outreach at Scunthorpe

Dave, who is Deputy Director for Outreach, said the youngsters learn how to spot when a friend might need help. And if they are supporting a friend, they are encouraged to also seek help for themselves.

Dave added: “We compare physical health with emotional health,” said Dave. “If you hurt your ankle you go to A&E. It’s the same for your mental health — if you are having bad day after bad day it is also important to do something about it. They learn how to identify issues early.

“We encourage them to talk to someone, it could be their parents or another adult. Or they can contact us, or another organisation, such as Childline.”

Young players at Burton Juniors now sport the Scunthorpe Samaritans logo on their shirts.

This partnership will raise awareness of the branch among everyone involved with the club, including parents and visiting supporters. And the players will learn about the work of Samaritans and looking after their emotional health — building on the work Samaritans does in schools.

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