• Microprojets

Improved access to community based mental health care for youth at risk

Founded in the UK in 2012, School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) is an international non-profit network operating in the UK and South Africa. SOHK provide a combination of psycho-social counseling from supportive adults and life skills through rugby coaching to meet our objective to improve the wellbeing of young people experiencing trauma from violent and under-resourced backgrounds. Over 28 sessions delivered throughout the year, SOHK youth participants learn the game of rugby and important life skills such as self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, goal-directed behavior, and personal responsibility through the evidence based SOHK curriculum. This internationally tested and researched curriculum is based on five core principles that promote youth empowerment: Respect, Effort, Self Direction, Caring and Helping and Transfer. The sense of achievement participants feel as they learn a new sport, develop bonds with their Coach and explore new feelings and ideas is significant. This combines with pitch-side one-on-one counseling or mentoring sessions delivered by reigstered mental health profressionals, which aids emotional regulation and asists in developing coping strategies to reduce the stress caused by the adversity they experience daily. Off the field, a Social Worker delivers family intervention plans with youth participants’ care-givers to increase family coping skills and influence parental guidance and psycho-social support at home. Our work is supported by our partner schools who provide the project location, identify those in need and provide feedback relating to participants’ attendance, behavior and any issues they may be facing. The program also features rewards such as trips, matches and kit in order to reinforce positive behavior. The project will contribute to ensuring the following outcomes in order to change learners lives: Students will experience an improved sense of self and self-confidence, reduced stress, depression and/or anxiety, improvements in ability to problem solve, work with others and persevere. Care-givers of students will experience improved well-being; harmful behaviours practiced in the home are reduced with increased household coping skills Students will attend school more, behave better and complete their education.

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