BLOG: Reflecting on the successes of the Mental Health Ambassador programme
The first year of the Mental Health Ambassador programme has come to an end and AoC Sport’s Development Officer Charlotte Jane reflects on the successes of the programme and how it was delivered.
This is the first year the programme has run and it has been really successful, with 46 colleges or college groups taking part and recruiting over 140 ambassadors.
Despite the challenging year, the ambassadors have completed online training through AoC Sport, UK Coaching and Mind, on modules including Mental Health Awareness, communicating effectively with your audience and action planning.
After completing the training, each ambassador team collectively created an action plan which demonstrated what they intended to deliver as part of their role.
There were some brilliant ideas to promote mental health to their peers, which included social media campaigns, speaking at the Learner Voice Conference, walk and talk sessions, wellbeing days, chat and chill sessions and student podcasts.
The ambassadors also accessed various webinars throughout the year on topics such as confidence, control, resilience and managing pressure. The webinars were hosted by AoC Sport with guest speakers Adam Morris from Believe Perform and Jack Green, former Team GB Olympian and current mental health advocate. Both were fantastic and had a wealth of knowledge on the topics that were covered.
Towards the end of the year, we set up a focus group to ensure we consider the student voice when making key decisions and to allow important feedback to improve the programme next year.
The members of the focus group will then become mental health mentors for future ambassadors at their college to allow the continuation and sustainability of the programme.
Personal Development Survey results
The programme has been a huge success in its first year and we are really happy with the results from the ambassadors’ Personal Development Survey.
The survey showed that an impressive 91% of volunteers improved their teamwork as a result of the programme and 85% of volunteers improved their confidence and communication.
Mental Health Ambassadors told us they are now more open to doing voluntary work outside of their chosen profession, have improved their own mental health through the programme, are more likely to speak up in support of someone experiencing mental health problems and are considering a career in mental health work.
It’s been great to have such positive feedback from both staff and students and to see what fantastic things the ambassadors have been able to achieve, both in their college and their community, despite the challenging circumstances.
The Mental Health Ambassador programme is part of the AoC Sport Leadership Academy .