Funding has been secured from a national charity to train 12 mental health champions – two for each high school in Runcorn.

Halton Borough Council’s youth cabinet has received £1,395 from The Community Foundation’s Alfred Shaw Trust for the programme.

The funding stream means only Runcorn is included by the young people’s initiative this time, but it is hoped the pilot will be extended if successful.

The move came as part of the “Make your Mark” survey, completed by high school students in high schools across the borough, saw that around 400 young people highlighted mental health as their most important issue.

The programme will start in this month (March, 2018) and will see the champions undertake accredited mental health first aid training as well as getting the opportunity to meet and influence senior decision makers from mental health support organisations across the borough and beyond.

Training for the programme takes place over four days and the young champions will then be supported to make a real difference to the mental health of students in their schools’ over the coming year.

It is hoped that the presence of a mental health champion will raise the profile of emotional health and wellbeing in schools as well as providing young people the opportunity for peer support and signposting to professional help and advice.

Halton Borough Council’s cxecutive board member for children, young pople and families, Cllr Tom McInerney, said: “All credit to the young people for addressing this need among their peers.”

The programme is open to students in Runcorn high schools. For more information and to apply for a place on the Mental Health Champions programme, please contact Matthew Walker on matthew.walker@haltonyc.com or call Young Addaction on 01928 240406.

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