In an age when it is estimated that one in ten young people experience a mental health issue at any one time, and record numbers of people are struggling due to social media, bullying, and academic or work pressures – we believe that Scouts has a place in giving young people and adults skills for life; practice the five ways to well-being and help young people and adults to access further support.
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic we know that many people will be suffering after a pre-longed period of social isolation and we believe Scouts will have a huge role to play in the recovery of young people in our local community with Mental Health and physical wellbeing being two of the biggest issues society will face in the next few years. To combat this we are embarking on a project to equip more of our volunteers with the skills to to identify issues with mental health and help young people to overcome these issues.
The District plan for mental health and wellbeing is being spearheaded by our District Youth Commissioner and has been led by team of young people aged 14-18, supported by the District Team. The team have adopted the 5 ways to wellbeing scheme to create the 365 steps of wellbeing challenge.
365 Steps of Wellbeing Challenge
Mersey Weaver Youth Shape Team are creating a year of wellbeing for all our members, 365 days of Scout wellbeing fun!
We want all our members to be aware of the importance of their own and others mental health and wellbeing and ways in which they could have fun along the way. To do this we are creating a challenge lasting for 365 days and asking all our members to join in the by earning 5 wellbeing challenge badges over the course of a year. The challenges will encourage young people and volunteers to Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Learn and Give – things which we already do as part of a balanced Scout programme but will highlight their importance.
Our goal is in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure that:
- Young people are happier, more active and more aware of mental health and wellbeing
- Leaders feel more comfortable and equipped to discuss mental health and wellbeing topics in section forums and understanding how the Scout programme promotes well-being.
The Challenge will launch during Mental health awareness week on the 10-16 May 2021 and young people of all sections will be able to start recording their action and earning their badges from that date.
If the challenge is successful we hope that it will be sustainable and something we can build on in future years.
What are the 5 ways to wellbeing?
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population.
They were developed by New Economics Foundation as the result of a commission by Foresight, the UK government’s futures think-tank, as part of the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing. There is strong evidence to suggest that living the 5 ways to wellbeing could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
Connect with people around you, your family, friends and neighbours. Put five minutes aside to find out how a member of your group really is. Spend time in meetings strengthening relationships between leaders and young people.
There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.
2. Be active
Be active by doing something your group can all enjoy together. You don’t have to be Olympic Athletes to be active. Go on a walk or hike, spend some time gardening, or do an activity such as cycling or having a kick about in your local park.
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.
3. Take notice
Take notice by being more aware of your surroundings and what is happening right now, for example the changing seasons, or the local environment. Ask your members what was good about their day. Maybe take part in a Scout’s own…
Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness. Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities. Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.
4. Keep learning
Keep learning by trying something different. Complete a badge as a unit that stretches the group, find out about scouts around the world, research an issue important to your members. Try out a new skill and be curious and not afraid to move a little out of your comfort zone!
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift people out of depression.
The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.
Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:
- Find out something about your colleagues
- Sign up for a class
- Read the news or a book
- Set up a book club
- Do a crossword or Sudoku
- Research something you’ve always wondered about
- Learn a new word.
Give to others, to feel good yourself. Start a community impact project or volunteer with a local charity.
Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research. Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
How to achieve your 5 badges
Follow the links below for more information about the flexible badge requirements that you can take part in to achieve your awards.
In the badge requirements we’ve cross referenced where each challenge badge overlaps with other Scout badges to show mental health and wellbeing can be easily incorporated into everyday scouting.
One of the amazing things about the 5 ways is that each area is scalable and completely different for different people. Young people will be able to shape their own wellbeing challenge and choose activities within the requirements that make them happy. We’re encouraging leaders to make this challenge Youth Shaped by asking young people what they want to do in their log chews, grand howls and youth forums.
Everyone who completes all five of the challenge badges, will receive a special centre badge to complete the set later this year!
Activity ideas for your programme
Share your activity ideas with others
Leaders and young people can share ideas or actual activities they have completed as part of the wellbeing challenge using the Padlet embedded above. If your activities link to other badges and awards please include that info too!
When you’re ready to add an idea, click the ‘+’ button at the bottom right of the screen.
Feel free to share all sorts of activity ideas, from initial sparks of inspiration to tried-and-tested favorites. You can add as many ideas as you like, or you can just build on others’ ideas.
Take some time to read through the ideas that have been shared and use the comment feature to build on others’ ideas and suggestions.
If you see something that you think is great, give it a like by hitting the heart button. Thank you for your collaboration!
Mersey Weaver Year of Wellbeing Events
To be confirmed. Coming later this year…
Dates in the wellbeing calendar
January – Cheshire Scouts ‘Let’s be Positive’ months
4 Feb – Time to Talk day
1-7 February – Children’s Mental Health Week
1 March – Self Injury Awareness day
1 -7 March – Eating Disorder Week
April – Stress awareness Month
10 – 16 May – Mental Health Awareness Week
10 October – World Mental Heath Day
Take part in our survey
During the year of wellbeing we will be asking both parents and young people to complete three surveys to understand how supported they feel and opinions on Scouts and wellbeing with the aim of measuring our impact. There will be a survey at the start of the challenge, mid way through and afterwards.
Record your activity
We want to know what young people are doing as part of their 365 days of wellbeing either individually or in the groups/units or sections…
Invite a member of the Youth shape team to your meeting/event
Our youth shape team are keen to see what your group/unit is getting up to and would welcome a visit to one of your meeting nights or events promoting wellbeing in young people.
Equally if you would like assistance running an activity the team have a number of activities in a box they can bring with them..
Order your badges
Groups will be able to purchase badges for their young people to award on completion of each part of the challenge. They will be available by mail order or collection from the Mersey Weaver Scout Store
Want to know more about Mental Health and wellbeing? Or wondering how you can cover this topic in the programme? Take a look at some of the resources developed by The Scouts.
Frequently asked questions
Do things outside of Scouts count towards the badges?
Yes, actions you complete outside of Scouts can count towards the award, but just provide some evidence of what you have done to your leader(s)
How can I record my progress?
Participants can print of the journal for their section where they can plan and reflect on their actions or Leaders can use OSM to record the actions of the participants. Also if your group have Badges at Home you can send evidence into your leaders via this function
How do I add the badges in OSM?
On Osm go to the group you wish to add the badge to > Click Badges > Challenge > + Add Badge > Search for Challenge badge > + Add Badge to my ‘Challenge’ Area
Badges are called
Mersey Weaver 365 Steps of Wellbeing > Connect Challenge / Be Active Challenge / Take Notice Challenge / Keep Learning Challenge / Give Challenge / The 365 Steps of Wellbeing Award
How do we take part in the competition?
Central Badge Competition
Template of the Central badge worksheet will be available to download, which can be printed and completed and sent in by a date to be confirmed later in the year
Highest percentage and Most Effective Group Competition
Simply complete the challenges and once you and your group have completed a challenge please complete the online completion form with your groups actions and numbers of those who have completed the challenge. If you would like to invite a member of the Youth Shape Team to a meeting to show us what you have done please get in touch by the booking link Mersey Weaver Youth Shape Team (office365.com)
Where can I sew my badges?
The badges can be worn on the uniform as a special occasional badge until August 2022, after which they can be transferred to a campfire blanket.
Special occasional badges are worn above the left breast pocket / above the membership badge
The challenge badges create an outer ring, the award badge will fit in the middle.
Additional help for young people
NSPCC’s Childline: 1-to-1 chat support and 24-hour helpline for young people.
Phone: 0800 1111
HOPELineUK: A specialist telephone service that gives non-judgemental support, practical advice and information to young people.
Phone: 0800 068 4141
On My Mind: Information for young people to make informed choices about their mental health and wellbeing.
YoungMinds: Crisis Messenger textline for free 24/7 support in the UK if a child or young person is experiencing a mental health crisis.
Text: YM to 85258
NHS Go: NHS confidential health advice and support for young people under 25. Download the app to your phone.
Additional help for adult volunteers
Samaritans: Samaritans offer a free service any time 24/7. If you need someone to talk to, they listen. They won’t judge or tell you what to do.
Phone: 116 123
NHS 111: For urgent medical advice out of hours you can contact NHS 111. They can help if you have an urgent problem and don’t know what to do.
MIND: Mind Infoline is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. We’re closed outside of those hours
Call: 0300 123 3393