Student Mentor, Alex Davey, currently studies MSc Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health at Edge Hill University. Read her case study as to why she became a Tackling the Blues mentor.
Why did you choose to be a TtB mentor?
When I was looking for a masters degree, I wondered if there was a masters degree that involved sport and mental health as it is an area that I would like to be an expert in, and that’s how I came across the masters programme that Edge Hill was offering, and when I saw the information about Tackling the Blues (TtB) and what the programme aims to deliver, I knew it was destiny! The dream of teaching mental health to children and young people was something I always wanted to do as I knew how important talking about mental health is. Therefore, I took a chance and moved up from the South to the North to achieve my lifelong dream of mine.
What is it you enjoy about being a TtB mentor?
I have enjoyed being creative with both classroom and sport based sessions, and finding ways to deliver content that is fun but also gets the messages across and are able to achieve the aims we set out to achieve. In addition, building relationships with the children and young people and seeing their smiling faces as they enjoy the sessions and express their gratitude for the lessons.
I also enjoyed working with the coordinators and other mentors. Sharing ideas about what to do for our sessions, who is teaching what and reflecting on what went well and what areas do we need to improve on for our future sessions. It was also good to know that you are not alone when things do not work out and it was vital that we look out for each other and support each other throughout.
Has TtB contributed to your own mental health literacy?
I would say that my mental health literacy was generally good before TtB. However, moving from the South to the North has opened up my eyes and I noticed the major differences when it comes to mental health. I moved from somewhere where mental health only gets mentioned briefly or less talked about and programmes like TtB are limited, to somewhere where we don’t stop talking about the importance of mental health, and the importance of seeking help and I live for it! I guess in some ways my mental health literacy improved in that sense where everything we talk about is somehow associated with mental health whether that would be during my masters course or TtB.
Do you think TtB has contributed to your employability, if so, how?
Yes, I have gained some vital skills for my potential future career. Such as leadership skills and being able to teach in front of children and young people whilst also my creative imagination to produce fun and engaging lessons for TtB whist also adapting to difference situations and making our lessons inclusive so that everyone has fun. I have also learnt to be a team playing and helping other mentors with their sessions when needed.
What have you learnt during your time as a Ttb student mentor?
I have learnt to take care of myself. I went through some mental health issues during my masters, and I had to take a couple of weeks off because of it because in the end, how was I supposed to tackle the blues, if I can’t tackle my own blues? I wanted to look after myself so that I can be able to help and empathises with children and young people with their problems the best way I can.
My manager has fully supported me throughout this even taking the time to arrange a phone call and seeing how I was getting on which I am most grateful for.
Have you been involved in any of the TtB research?
Yes, I have had an interview with the researchers about my experience of a lead mentor in tackling the blues.
Would you recommend TtB to other students?
Absolutely. If you are looking for experience in teaching whether that would be in a classroom or sports, this is a perfect opportunity to expand your career skills and would look good on your CV.
What are your plans after TtB?
In the future, I would really love to be a sports lecture with an expertise in sport and mental health. From their, I can use my experience and knowledge I gained from the masters and TtB sessions to help me achieve those goals in the future.
Please could you send a picture of yourself and a picture that represents the sessions or anything you have created as result of TtB- you will be credited on TtB’s website and your case study will be shared to inspire others.