Share a Smile was developed and designed by local young people. Here they describe what they did.
Who are we?
We are a group of sixth form students (Ullswater Community College, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Appleby Grammar School and Kirkby Stephen Grammar) based in Eden. We worked alongside Carlisle Eden Mind. Our project aimed to increase understanding of positive mental health amongst young people and the wider community. We wanted to demonstrate the impact everyone can have by sharing kindness with each other.
What was the aim?
Share a Smile aimed to make a positive change to the emotional wellbeing and mental health of the Eden community. The primary goal was simple. We hoped to raise awareness of how a simple act of kindness can improve the emotional wellbeing of ourselves and those around us.
Share a Smile encouraged schools and local community organisations to join in. This helped to raise awareness of young people’s mental health, reduce stigma and improve wellbeing.
Who enabled us to do this?
Share a Smile was funded by Eden Local Committee’s Children and Young People’s Working Group which is part of Cumbria County Council. Members of the Children and Young People’s Working Group meet regularly to discuss issues relating to young people in Eden. The group works strategically to support the development of activities that contribute to the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Following discussion with Public Health Nurses, Active Cumbria and Carlisle Eden Mind, the Local Committee set up and funded this project. It was hoped that it would increase the emotional resilience of children and young people in Eden.
The Chair of the Young People’s Working Group is councillor Phil Dew – contact email@example.com
Share a smile:
1. Helped to make mental health a more approachable subject in Eden. We helped increase people’s understanding of the power of kindness on our mental health. This was demonstrated by inspiring the community to share Random Acts of Kindness.
2. Encouraged organisations, such as schools, to take action to help raise awareness of children’s mental health, reduce stigma and improve children’s wellbeing
3. Offered Youth Mental Health First Aid training for students and staff members from each secondary school. This helped to build teacher, school staff and young people’s skills, knowledge and confidence to support young people’s mental health in order to become Youth Mental Health Champions [YMHCs]. Over the period of the project, YMHC’s aimed to develop awareness-raising, anti-stigma and information campaigns to promote positive mental health and offer signposting to support.
How did we make this positive change?
In the first phase, we received Youth Mental Health First Aid training from Carlisle Eden Mind. This qualified us to act as ‘Youth Mental Health Champions’ in our schools and wider communities. As Youth MHFA Champions, we have a better understanding of common mental health issues and how they can affect our friends and peers. In addition, we have increased knowledge and confidence to advocate for and raise mental health awareness. This helped us to reduce stigma and improve the mental health of those around us.
Over the spring and summer months, we worked with our own schools and Eden primaries. We encouraged them to take action to help raise awareness of children’s mental health. By supporting their school communities (pupils, staff and parents) to carry out Random Acts of Kindness, we were able to male a difference.
Our main event was sharing a Random Act of Kindness Week, in our local Eden community. As a group we demonstrated and inspired the Eden community to receive and share Random Acts of Kindness.
We continued until the end of 2019. We developed awareness-raising, anti-stigma and information campaigns to promote positive mental health. Our campaigns also helped to reduce stigma and offer signposting to support.
Share a Smile was developed and designed by the young people involved, working alongside the project lead, Lynsey Eland from Carlisle Eden Mind.
Read More about share a smile and the experiences we had.