Start Again works with young people, their parents or carers and professionals to develop a young person’s aspirations and goals.
Its Healthy Lifestyles programme – developed in partnership with Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) and supported by £9,900 of National Lottery funding – uses sport and leisure activities to improve the wellbeing of young people who have experienced psychosis.
Creating bespoke programmes
Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them. This might involve hallucinations or delusions.
The pilot project we funded tested the impact of sport and activity on 25 young people with psychosis. Start Again worked closely with clinical staff to create bespoke programmes of activities for young people.
One of the young people to benefit from the programme is Rosie.
Before taking part in the programme, Rosie, who has autism, had low self-esteem and used to get anxious in social situations. She didn’t travel anywhere on her own or interact much with other young people.
The opportunities Rosie has been able to take part in with Start Again have been life-changing.
After developing a programme with Rosie, her mum and the clinical team at Start Again, she has been able to take part in activities that have seen her gain independence and meet more people her own age.
The range of opportunities have helped her gradually gain confidence and become more involved in sport and activity.
“I’m most proud of the fact that my confidence in going out and meeting new people has improved,” said Rosie.
Looking to the future
One of the activities involved a two-hour weekly group session, which included an hour of multisport physical activity followed by an hour of socialising.
As well as regularly playing badminton, basketball, football and handball, Rosie is now also working towards a Sport Leaders Award.
Start Again project lead Chantel said: “Rosie has made brilliant progress. She travels on her own now – she’s very punctual and reliable – and she attends almost everything that is suggested to her.
“At the moment, she’s coming to three sessions a week and we can see how much her social skills have improved by the way she communicates with the other young people during the activities.”
To find out more, visit the Start Again website.