Stagecoach believes creative extra-curricular activities, free from the stresses of revision and exams, can help young people suffering from mental health problems. That’s why it is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week
From endless exams and worries about grades to the non-stop social media feeds, pressures on young people today are perhaps bigger than they have ever been. Without the right support, students’ mental health can quickly deteriorate.
According to research carried out by NHS Digital, one in eight young people in the UK have a diagnosable mental health problem. What’s more, figures from the Office for National Statistics show almost one in four children and young people exhibit some evidence of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
But Stagecoach, the UK’s largest network of extra-curricular performing arts schools, firmly believes in the power of creativity to help improve mental health. That’s why it’s supporting Mental Health Awareness Week from May 13-19.
Across the UK Stagecoach network, more than 46,000 young people are already benefiting from weekly classes in singing, dancing and acting. In these classes, students are able to develop the skills that will help them cope with the challenges life can bring: that might be developing confidence by singing a solo in front of friends, or improving social skills by working as part of an acting ensemble, or building self-esteem by choreographing a brilliant dance routine.
This kind of creativity helps young people find their voices – and not just their singing voices. It gives them the tools to find solutions to problems themselves, to think creatively, to interact with other young people in person rather than from behind a screen. It’s a weekly break, too, from the intense pressures of exam revision.
On top of that, engaging in creative subjects teaches young people that success is not just measured in grades and scores. Quantifying success in such a way can be detrimental to a child’s mental health. Instead, young people can learn through the performing arts that success comes in many different forms – and failure can be just as valuable.
YoungMinds, Stagecoach’s partner charity, does a huge amount of work in helping to empower young people and ensure anyone with a mental health issue can get the support they need. One case study from YoungMinds followed the story of Elsa, who found dance provided an outlet for her stress and gave her focus, which in turn vastly improved her mental health.
Stagecoach’s aim is to deliver creative subjects to children and improve their emotional well-being. Through singing, dancing and acting – and all the skills that come from learning those disciplines – Stagecoach hopes to create happy, healthy, well-rounded individuals who can forge a future that will allow them to thrive. It aims to instil “creative courage for life” in its students so that they become more expressive, articulate and confident in all aspects of their lives.
As Elsa put it on the blog: “Creativity isn’t limited and creative subjects, such as the performing arts, have an enormous amount of power to help us change our perspective on life.”
For more on YoungMinds go to: youngminds.org.uk