Project:Me was set up by Kate Nokes and Vicki Stavrinos as an early intervention well-being programme for young people to bring an awareness of their mental health as well as encourage physical activity. Project:ME has worked with students from Great Baddow High School with the school identifying students who felt would benefit the most. The sessions were designed with time for wellbeing activities, a focus on strategies to support an improvement with their mental health such as; breathing techniques, mindfulness, positive self-talk and visualisation, as well as physical activity and street dance routines.

The NHS and Mental Health Foundation state that we should be capitalising on opportunities to provide children with support to ensure good mental health amongst young people. In a YoungMinds statistic, 1 in 6 young people aged 16-24 have symptoms of a common mental disorder such as depression or anxiety.

Kate and Vicki used Project:ME as a platform for the students to get active but to also help with their self-confidence. The project has given the girls motivation and provided them support to be able to deal with situations that they may face such as, friendship issues. Both ladies found that encouraging the girls to get involved in physical activity was a release of their energy; learning different dance routines each week allowed their minds to focus on something fun and positive, turning their attention on timing and choreography.

Vicki said: “The programme had challenges such as the squat challenge each week, so the girls could see their progress. We started the programme with some girls not wanting to join in, but after a few weeks everyone wanted to!”

The two 10 week programmes have engaged over 30 girls and Project:ME has concluded that all the girls are more active than when they started. One participant said: “After Project:ME, I have decoded to join a netball club. The project was important to me as it taught me life skills and I’ve made friends doing it.” Another participant added, “It has allowed me to express myself, be me and have fun.”

Project:Me is going to be working with 2 further Secondary schools from September due to the success of their first two programmes with Great Baddow High School.