Providing Physical activity and mental health awareness through peer support programmes to raise the aspirations of Merseyside young people and breakdown barriers to accessing employment opportunities.

In Liverpool the “Life is like a bike” campaign has been integrated into a wider skills development and employability programme for people with mental health issues.

Merseyside Expanding Horizons have a vast amount of experience supporting people to reach their potential, through employment and enterprise and therefore have learnt over the years the strong relationship between physical activity, mental wellbeing and employability, and also some of the negative symptoms of mental health issues include lacking motivation; finding it hard to connect and engage in activities and participate.

In order to help people overcome these negatives Merseyside Expanding Horizons have been running a Peer support programme which supports people with mental health issues to learn and gain support from one another to make positive steps in their recovery.

MEH have done this by including one of the 12 sessions about how being more active by doing sport will make a positive impact on your mental health. The participants discussed their own experience of taking part in physical activities, what barriers there were, and supported each other to come up with solutions about how to overcome these barriers. Finally the members of each group discussed what local opportunities there were to take part in physical activities and some even arranged to have an informal game of football following the session.

Moving forward such programmes will embed sport and mental health awareness to strengthen group dynamics, encourage team week and develop confidence to build resilience to safeguard their mental health and effectively manage it so that young people are able to move forward within their lives and additionally strengthen local communities.

For more information please contact: Stacey Robinson, Psychologist, Merseyside Expanding Horizons,