Halton Borough Council’s Youth Cabinet has secured funding from a national charity to train twelve mental health champions – two for each high school in Runcorn.

Members received £1,395 from The Community Foundation’s Alfred Shaw Trust Fund to train the young Mental Health Champions from schools across the town.

The funding stream means only Runcorn is included by the young people’s initiative this time, but it is hoped the pilot will be extended if successful.

The move came as part of the “Make your Mark” survey, completed by high school students in high schools across the borough, saw that around 400 young people highlighted mental health as their most important issue.

The programme will start in March 2018 and will see the champions undertake accredited Mental Health First Aid training as well as getting the opportunity to meet and influence senior decision makers from mental health support organisations across the borough and beyond.

Training for the programme takes place over four days and the Young Champions will then be supported to make a real difference to the mental health of students in their schools’ over the coming year.

It is hoped that the presence of a mental health champion will raise the profile of emotional health and wellbeing in schools as well as providing young people the opportunity for peer support and signposting to professional help and advice.

The programme is open to students in Runcorn high schools. For more information and to apply for a place on the Mental Health Champions programme, please contact Matthew Walker on matthew.walker@haltonyc.com or call Young Addaction on 01928 240406.

The Cabinet Member said: ““I’m really looking forward to getting cracking and putting this project into action, I’m hoping that it can make a real difference across schools.

“Mental Health is a crucial issue for young people and I’m pleased that we have the support of Community Foundation for Merseyside to make this project possible.”

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Children, Young People and Families, Cllr Tom McInerney, said: “All credit to the young people for addressing this need among their peers.”

Halton Borough Council’s Youth Cabinet is run by Youth Addaction behalf of Halton’s Children’s Trust and Halton Borough Council as part of an on-going commitment to improve opportunities for all children and young people