An interactive experience, which uses a giant inflatable brain to teach children about mental health, has been granted a seal of approval by Wigan Council’s education chiefs.
Healthy Mind UK has been approved for inclusion on the town hall’s Be Wigan Services for Schools online portal, which is used by schools across the borough to access a range of extracurricular resources and training.
Andy Cameron, managing director, set up the organisation after noticing a lot of children growing up with mental health issues.
Using his own expertise , he created the interactive experience, consisting of an 8ft “brain dome” which teaches primary school pupils about the different parts of the brain, what they are used for and how each one affects mental health.
“We looked at what was being done in terms of intervention,” he said.
“We realised that they weren’t being given the tools to combat mental health issues, because it’s a tough subject to teach them about.
“I’ve been teaching for about 12 years, and have worked with a lot of kids with mental health issues.
“Every time I was dealing with a child, I was thinking about what could be done to help.
“I found a lot of things were reactive, not proactive, and wasn’t giving them the knowledge to deal with it before it became a bigger problem.”
This led Andy to get his thinking cap on and figure out a way to teach young people about such a complex subject.
The end result is a three-part course, delivered to children at their schools, and involving the giant inflatable brain which can be explored both inside and out.
He said: “We wanted something to be fun and engaging and to make it normal for them to start thinking about their own mental health.
“We wanted the wow factor and something exciting.
“The idea is for children to go inside and learn about the brain in a way that will stick in their mind and have a much more long-lasting impact.”
Andy added: “Healthy Mind UK are delighted to be included on the ‘Be Wigan Services for Schools’ portal as a service provider of Mental Health Education for Primary Schools across the borough.
“The organisation has gone from strength to strength since its launch some three years ago, working with over 20,000 young people.
“We are now aiming to work with even more schools to make a positive difference to the Mental Health and Wellbeing of young people in the borough of Wigan, as well as expanding throughout the United Kingdom.”
Any schools interested in finding out more can contact Healthy Mind UK at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07377709522, as well as accessing the Be Wigan Services for Schools portal at wigan.gov.uk