On the 10th – 17th May, its is International Mental Health Awareness week and the key theme in 2021 is noticing and connecting with nature which fits neatly with the outdoor ethos of Scouting.

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 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 also know that many people will be suffering after a pre-longed period of social isolation, and we think 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 identify issues with mental health and help young people to overcome these issues. 

Our Youth Shape team, made up of young people from different groups and units from across our District have identified that young people’s health and wellbeing is a priority for 2021 and designed a set of 5 challenge badges with a 6th central badge that Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, Network as well as leaders can earn and wear on their uniforms until August 2022.

The challenge is called ‘365 Steps of Wellbeing’ and we are asking all our members to join in the by earning the 5 wellbeing challenge badges over the course of the 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. 

In addition, Mersey Weaver, will also be providing free Mental Health first aid courses for adult volunteers, to supplement the traditional first aid skills they require. 

The goal – to improve the wellbeing of all the Scouts and Leaders and encourage everybody to participate in the Five Ways as we try to return to normality.