In 2017, Worth-it collaborated with Bedford CAMHS and 6 secondary schools to deliver our school-based wellbeing peer mentoring programme, Wellbeing Ambassadors.
The Wellbeing Ambassadors programme provided a unique opportunity to apply evidence-based techniques and strategies that improve wellbeing, through peer to peer support. The programme combined several highly effective approaches proven to improve the wellbeing of young people.
The programme combined peer mentoring, peer coaching and applied positive psychology to develop the wellbeing of both the Wellbeing Ambassadors and the peers they mentor.
Working with CAMHS school link team
Following the Department for Education funded CAMHS school link pilots, local young people in Bedford identified a need for the provision of early support to improve their wellbeing and prevent mental health problems developing.
East London NHS Foundation Trust responded by commissioning Worth-it to work in partnership with Bedford CAMHS school link service to develop a Peer to Peer support programme, providing young person lead early intervention and prevention within schools.
This project helped develop our current Wellbeing Ambassadors programme and was piloted in 6 schools across Bedfordshire who worked in partnership with Bedfordshire CAMHS school link team, Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire early help team.
This project will positively impact on young people in Bedfordshire schools, providing early prevention that improves wellbeing through peer mentoring over the next three years.
Developing peer mentoring in schools
As well as working with Local Authority and NHS multi-agency teams, the Wellbeing Ambassador Programme is being delivered within 6 Bedfordshire schools.
- Manshead School
- Samuel Whitbread Academy
- Bedford Academy
- Kempston Challenger Academy
- Sharnbrook Upper School
- St Thomas More
These schools are training a cohort or year 12 students to become wellbeing ambassadors who will improve the wellbeing of younger peers.
Wellbeing outcomes through peer mentoring
The programme provides an ‘upstream’ early intervention designed to prevent mental health problems developing by equipping young people with confidence, interpersonal skills, thinking skills and improving self-awareness. This way of working enhances wellbeing and a sense of belonging to school which promotes attendance and reduces incidents of unhelpful behaviour in the Wellbeing Ambassadors and the peers they support. Other benefits can include improved engagement, academic achievement and a reduction in bullying incidents across the school. Peer support programmes are also an important component of a whole school approach to mental health.
How does peer mentoring improve wellbeing?
Peer mentoring is associated with many positive outcomes for both the Wellbeing Ambassador and the peer they are supporting.
Wellbeing is developed in the Wellbeing Ambassador through:
- Volunteering to be involved
- Participation in the training
- Learning new skills that improve wellbeing
- Developing themselves to role model wellbeing
- Applying those skills through supporting another peer
Wellbeing is developed in the peer through:
- The supportive relationship provided by the Wellbeing Ambassador who role models wellbeing and provides a supportive trusting relationship
- Learning skills and strategies to develop wellbeing by working through the Wellbeing Workbook with the Ambassador
- Practicing skills for wellbeing in the support sessions and outside
What are the Elements of the Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme?
The Wellbeing Ambassadors programme is delivered within a school usually over an academic year. The programme has been designed to work within a busy school calendar.
The Wellbeing Ambassadors programme provides:
- Two days of training for Wellbeing Ambassadors with training handbooks
- Programme planning guidance for Wellbeing Ambassador Co-ordinations to
- Implement the programme in your school
- Co-ordinate peer mentoring sessions
- Wellbeing Workbook resources for the Wellbeing Ambassadors to provide support to younger peers over 6 support sessions
- Wellbeing Ambassador support meetings
- Monitoring of wellbeing levels of both the Wellbeing Ambassadors and the younger peers
- Programme evaluation
- Project Impact Reports
Peer Mentoring Evaluation
We have created our own way of monitoring the wellbeing levels of the Wellbeing Ambassadors and their peers. This is being used in several innovative ways in Bedfordshire as part of this project these include
- Identifying suitable young people to be the wellbeing ambassadors
- Target the intervention at young people who will be receiving the intervention
- Matching mentors with mentees
- Identifying young people in need of support to improve their wellbeing earlier, so the problems don’t escalate and require more clinical interventions
- Identifying young people who require access to professional support
- Measuring the effectiveness of the intervention
Interested in having Wellbeing Ambassadors in your School/Setting?
Find out more about our Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme