Our Mental Skills Training toolkit (#MSTtoolkit) is an ongoing project. We aim to produce a toolkit that has received input from staff and young people from our partners St Basils and Youth Voice, as well as, incorporating the views of experts and stakeholders in the sector.
Find out more about our toolkit here
The mental skills training toolkit is the result after 6+ years of research with our collaborative partner St Basils. Building from content included in the MST4Life programme, the toolkit includes activities which are designed to support young people recognise and develop their mental skills, such as: goal-setting, coping strategies, resilience and support seeking.
In selecting what tools to include and how to present them, we sought out the views of staff and young people. From these workshops, it was made clear that the toolkit needed to included some tips and techniques to help staff and young people engage in conversation and complete the tools collaboratively.
More recently, we pitched an initial prototype of the toolkit to a wider audience of 60+ people from the homeless sector, including front-line staff and policy makers. Based on their feedback, the toolkit is undergoing revisions before being officially launched in early 2020 - watch this space!
Mental skills training toolkit
Children leaving care are at a significant disadvantage compared to their peers, which particularly affects those who have multiple support needs, such as having mental ill-health, learning disabilities, or experiences in the criminal justice system.
In an effort to improve existing provision for children leaving care services, the Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned us to evaluate the outcomes and processes of a new housing pathway for care leavers with multiple and complex needs.
Five young people accepted a placement at a youth homeless housing project, which included support provided by the homelessness charity, such as employability and life skills training, and an opportunity to complete the MST4Life programme.
Findings and recommendations from the project, including a literature review on what factors influence care leaver outcomes, are intended to help local governments make informed decisions to ensure leaving care services are effective and cost-effective.
Improving pathways for looked after children leaving care
All young people have the capacity for growth and personal development. My Strengths Training for Life (MST4Life) uses a distinctly strengths-based approach informed by clinical and sports psychology to support young people to achieve their goals.
The MST4Life programme has become a central component of a large housing provider's support and wellbeing offer to young people. Those who are currently NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) are particularly encouraged to take part in the programme.
MST4Life uses similar techniques to those used by sports coaches to help young people establish aspirations, set goals and utilise support networks to develop confidence, teamwork, problem-solving, and a range of other mental skills. All this is aimed at helping residents, many of whom have complex needs and are at risk of isolation, social disadvantage and poor mental health.
Just as successful sportsmen and women develop their mental skills to reach new heights in their sport, the programme helps young people develop the mental skills to navigate the job market, build healthy relationships, and manage their mental health.