August 27, 2021
Worth-it have been leading voice led approaches to developing student wellbeing since 2014. We are proud to share with you our advice on how to lead our Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme in your school.
Our Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme is a peer-led, early intervention programme that empowers young people to lead positive change and increase wellbeing and resilience in themselves and their peers: which can help prevent mental health problems.
The programme consists of a workshop for 8-16 students, facilitated by a member of staff. The young people are trained in the workshop to become Wellbeing Ambassadors and then supported to develop and run wellbeing initiatives in their school or setting.
The Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme is available as a digital toolkit that contains everything you need to deliver the Wellbeing Ambassadors workshop and more.
To empower a group of young people to lead wellbeing initiatives that provide peer to peer support in their school or setting to increase wellbeing and resilience, help protect the mental health of the young people in your school and help reduce the risk of mental illness now and later in life.
The Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme gives young people a sense of belonging and connection, builds skills for them to develop positive peer relationships, develops empathy and gives greater access to support for all young people in a school or youth setting.
Good wellbeing can be described as when a person is feeling happy and contented most of the time and is able to experience joy. If difficulties do happen, they can accept and manage them.
There are various pathways to wellbeing. Using strengths is one of them. Just being involved in the Wellbeing Ambassador Programme uses young people’s strengths and therefore contributes to wellbeing. Tools for emotional management and developing positive relationships are also learnt.
You or another member of staff that you’ve identified will lead the workshop and be the facilitator for the programme.
The young people who become Wellbeing Ambassadors will be utilising coaching techniques, and, as a facilitator, you’ll get the opportunity to develop your own coaching skills.
Coaching is a way of developing skills; unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance and increase feelings of wellbeing.
As teachers we often use directive coaching in our lessons: instructing, giving advice, making suggestions, offering guidance and providing answers and solutions. As a facilitator, you’ll be using non-directive coaching styles such as listening to understand, asking questions to raise awareness, reflecting back, paraphrasing and giving feedback. Non-directive coaching allows young people to come up with their own ideas and initiatives.
I saw the impact the Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme had on the other students we were supporting they became more open and friendly with not only us but their peers around them.
Lydia, Year 11 Wellbeing Ambassador - Brig House High School
After your school or setting has purchased the online programme, we recommend watching the training course modules – a short CPD session – and familiarising yourself with the facilitator’s manual. In these we talk you through how the workshop might work – the slides complement the instructor manual – and what you’ll need as a facilitator and what you’ll need to provide for each young person.
The next step will be to recruit your team, your Wellbeing Ambassadors! How you might do this depends on the needs of your school or setting and on COVID restrictions at the time. For example, some schools have chosen mixed year groups as their Ambassadors, but this may not always be feasible with restrictions in place.
You might approach young people who you think may want to be involved or you could put it out there as a role to be applied for and go through an application process. One school we were involved with put an application out to just one year group and got 60 applications!
Perhaps there’s a group of students, such as young carers, who you think would really benefit from being trained as Wellbeing Ambassadors – you might choose to approach these young people first.
In one school we’ve worked with it was the student council who identified the students that they wanted to be Wellbeing Ambassadors and approached SLT for permission before carrying out their own fundraising to pay for the programme.
Within the Wellbeing Ambassadors Digital Toolkit, you’ll find everything you need to deliver the programme within your school or setting:
The workshop is designed to be delivered over one day, but, can be split up into two or three sessions delivered over a few weeks, if this works better in your school or setting.
In the facilitator’s manual, you will find activity plans for each part of the workshop, so you don’t need to spend any time developing your own programme. Saving you time researching and planning. The workshop is not prescriptive – it’s a flexible framework, designed for professionals such as yourself – and we find it works best when facilitators bring their own skills, knowledge and abilities to the delivery and share their own anecdotes, tips or strategies.
The Wellbeing Ambassadors workshop is designed to be fun and interactive. We’ve included extra coaching development questions for many activities. You’ll be helping young people recognise their own skills and be kinder to themselves. At the end of the workshop young people and facilitators tend to feel very uplifted.
To help you to feel confident to deliver this workshop and support ongoing initiatives, one of our experienced trainers and coaches will hold online group coaching sessions for Wellbeing Ambassador Facilitators.
These group sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss any questions and queries that you might have, support you overcome any barriers you may face to making the project a success and provide tips and advice to support you to deliver this workshop with young people.
There’s also a FAQ section on our website you can access.
This is a really important point, for the young people training as Wellbeing Ambassadors and for the peers they will be supporting. Part of the workshop is designed to facilitate discussion of safeguarding issues with the young people and help them know when to ask for further support, and where to find this support.
At the end of the workshop there will be time for the young people to work on an action plan of how they will develop and deliver initiatives that increase wellbeing and resilience amongst their peers.
As a group, you may want to agree a time and place you will meet for follow-up sessions to support these initiatives, perhaps once a week or once a fortnight, to keep the momentum going.
There are suggestions for campaign ideas in the young people’s booklets, such as running peer to peer support sessions or making a short video clip about mental health and the strategies that can be used – this could be shown in assembly or form time or your Wellbeing Ambassadors could even perform this as a play in assemblies or recruit students from your school’s drama group to perform this for them – there are so many possibilities!
The Wellbeing Ambassadors programme does take some time and energy to get up and running, but it’s so worth it for the young people involved and their peers, increasing wellbeing and resilience and supporting good mental health. In time this will increase your school or settings ability to support many more young people earlier and in doing so, prevent a lot of early or low-level mental health and wellbeing issues from escalating. Which will result in increased capacity and time for pastoral staff members to provide targeted support for young people with mental health needs.
When your school purchases an online Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme you will have access to it for three years, allowing you to continue the programme and even involve existing Wellbeing Ambassadors in the training of the next group of young people.
We hope you and your young people enjoy it!
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