YHP CANADA – Flex Your Head
2013 - 2016
The local context
Only one in five Canadian young people who experience mental health difficulties ever seek and receive help.
Improve youth access to timely and evidence-based information, resources and support services that can improve their mental wellbeing and build emotional resilience.
To support adolescents aged 13+ in emotional management, expression of violence, peer victimisation and motivation.
Flex Your Head is 12-module programme, with each module lasting between 8 and 15 minutes, created with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. Flex Your Head helps youth think about, talk about, and understand issues of mental health and wellness within a safe, fun, and welcoming environment.
Flex Your Head offers a series of group-based activities that promote positive mental health and wellness and address difficulties with depression and anxiety. Activities are led jointly by a young person and a staff member. In the sessions young people find out about:
- Mental health issues affecting youth.
- The principles and theories of mental health promotion and wellness that underpin Flex Your Head.
- Anti-stigma actions and community messages that support positive youth mental health.
- What program resources and activities are available, how activities are delivered and facilitated, and how to get the programme going in organisations.
The resource is available to all Boys and Girls Clubs and, through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, to other youth-based organisations.
‘Flex your Head’ is a self-running programme which will continue to operate into the future without further YHP investment as one of the core programmes run, and made available, by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
‘My mother struggled with a drug abuse problem and died from an overdose at the age of 33. I was eight. I felt as if I was responsible for making sure that everyone else was all right. I began to feel a lot of pressure and it just became too much for me. My eating habits changed, my grades fell and I shut out the world.
When the opportunity arose to be part of the Flex Your Head programme I jumped on board. I knew if I could educate myself on mental health I could take this information to my school and peers. Now I have been accepted to study social work at university and plan to work with mental health and addictions and help others suffering in silence.’