Schoolgirl explains how Wigan Athletic's Community Trust has improved her mental health
For local student Jasmine Marland, a Wigan Athletic project has given her the opportunity to improve the mental health of her fellow students through her own personal experiences.
For local student, Jasmine Marland, a Wigan Athletic project has given her the opportunity to improve the mental health of her fellow students through her own personal experiences.
During the past 12 months, Jasmine, 14, a pupil at Atherton High School, has been working with staff from Wigan Athletic Community Trust on the programme with the aim of improving young people’s mental health within a school environment.
Earlier this year, Jasmine’s group were selected as the winners of the Community Trust’s Premier League Inspires Challenge after their idea of providing a ‘youth club’ style session, after school, impressed the judges.
“Our topic was really important to us all as we’ve all struggled with our mental health,” she said. “Especially for me after a childhood trauma when I was younger, I couldn’t trust anyone or talk to anybody.
“I just isolated myself and it isn’t fair for any child to go through something like that alone.
“Over the past 12 months we’ve been planning our social action idea of providing youth group sessions to improve kids’ mental health, get them socialising and talking and to help those who might be struggling and not want to talk about their problems to adults.
“There was nothing for kids like this at the school with the aim of improving their mental health. It was a case of coming to school and going home on repeat.
“Something like that can affect their mental health because they have nothing to look forward too. It just felt that every day was the same and our aim was to provide something for them to look forward too as well as a safe place for them.”
After being crowned as winners, the group put their idea into action and have so far hosted two sessions at the school with plenty of positive feedback from fellow pupils.
“Our social action idea has gone really well having done a few sessions already,” Jasmine continued.
“We’ve had between 40 and 50 children there each time and through the groups we’ve got them socialising.
“The response has been good and some have been asking when the next session is and the topics for them and really interested in what we are trying to do.
“We’ve had a teacher bake off to get them involved, different activities like football and table tennis going on as well as myself and others being around to provide kids with someone to talk to if they need any support because it seems a lot harder to talk to adults than it is kids.”
Throughout the past 12 months, staff from the Trust have worked with over 100 pupils from eight secondary schools and two engagement centres with online and face-to-face support including group mentoring and work on social action ideas.
For Jasmine, that support has been crucial for her in what has been a challenging year for pupils at school.
She said: “The support from staff has been really good whether that’s been through Zoom sessions or having conversations with us in the classroom and talking about it and it’s given me different opportunities and kept me happy.
“Premier League Inspires has helped me a lot and it’s kept my mental health on the good side of things.
“It’s helped me to keep going and showed me that I’m not alone and there are others going through things as well. Having sessions in the classroom was a lot better for me because I have a habit of staying at home and not going out, so when I’m coming to school knowing we have these sessions, I’ve got something to look forward too and puts me in a good mood.
“Having the sessions broke the routine of school of the same lessons with the same teachers and gave me a break from that school work and offers a safe space to be in.”
Going forward, Jasmine and her group will continue running sessions with the support of Trust staff and she hopes they will continue to have a positive effect.
“Some kids might not have a good relationship with parents or might not have any friends they can talk to which makes it a lot harder for them.
“Having the responsibility of almost being a mentor has given me that hope that there is a way out of it and I want to show that to other kids because it isn’t fair for them to go through it alone.”
For more information about Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Premier League Inspires programme, please email [email protected] or call 01942 318090.
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