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10 Year Anniversary of MST4Life™!


Did you know that our MST4Life™ project began 10 years ago? The SPRINT Project partnered with youth homelessness charity St Basils to bring about lasting positive change to young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness by creating and delivering MST4Life™─a strengths-based, psychologically informed, mental skills training (MST) programme grounded in sport psychology.   


Read on to find out more about MST4Life™ and how it has evolved over the years!  



Image description: A photo of a group of young people stood on top of a hill, taking part in MST4Life™. 



How did MST4Life™ begin? 


The MST4Life™ programme was co-designed with experts from St Basils, which included young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness and the staff who support them. By using the co-design approach it was possible to learn how to create the programme to best meet young people’s needs and gather important feedback in the very early stages of the programme's formation. 


The feasibility of the programme was tested in a pilot assessment, beginning in March 2014.  The first community-based phase of MST4Life™ consisted of 8 weekly sessions of 1.5 to 4 hours in length that focused on self-regulation, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and building self-confidence and motivation. The second phase involved a 4-day residential course at an outdoor pursuits centre in the Lake District, where young people had the opportunity to consolidate the skills they had developed in a novel, engaging and challenging environment.  


Diary rooms and focus groups conducted with the young people were used to assess the programme’s feasibility. Feasibility was determined through observed themes of high attendance and engagement, and positive reaction. You can read more about this in an academic paper that was published in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health here



Image description: A photo of a group of young people jumping into a lake, taking part in MST4Life™. 



So, what happened after the delivery of the MST4Life™ feasibility pilot? 

 

Following the success of the MST4Life™ feasibility pilot, the SPRINT Project received 900k in funds from the Monday Charitable Trust. This enabled and facilitated the full roll out of MST4Life™ and establishment of a long-term community-based partnership with St Basils. 


Following on from the success of MST4Life™, the SPRINT Project co-designed a trilogy of three MST Toolkits with St Basils, Youth Voice, the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Mental Health and Homeless Link. The Toolkits contain the tools that are used in the MST4Life™ programme, allowing standardised delivery in wide-ranging contexts and settings; and also include information on how to deliver the training in a psychologically informed way, and how to evaluate this training. You can find more about the Toolkits and watch a video about them here. 



What are the future plans for MST4Life? 


The SPRINT Project team are currently examining different ways of delivering the MST4Life™ programme in collaboration with Youth Voice. You can find out more about this in a blog post where we share information about a one-day MST4Life™ workshop that was held at the University of Birmingham in summer 2023. 


The team are also exploring the implementation of the MST Toolkits in new populations and contexts. Recently, a collaboration with digital start-up company Get Ahead Mindset has enabled the MST tools to be translated to a new sport psychology smartphone app. Head over to our digital applications webpage to find out more! 



 


Check out our MST4Life™ project webpage for more information on MST4Life™ and our longstanding partnership with St Basils.


Are you interested in finding out more about the impact that MST4Life™ has had?  Head over to our impact webpages for an impact case study on MST4Life™! 



 

Photo credit: Dr Mark Holland. 

Written by Dr Sally Reynard, Post Doctoral Researcher in the SPRINT Project. 



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