Foundation helping school children to deal with unprecedented mental health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

Looking after our mental fitness and wellbeing has never been important, with efforts to tackle the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic for our city’s young people being carried out by Leeds Rhinos Foundation through it’s ground-breaking Youth Endowment resilience programmes.

Many people have suffered during the pandemic, from the anxiety of living through a global health pandemic to the feelings of loneliness and isolation as we were told to keep our distance from friends and family.

This has been particularly true for the youngest generations, with analysis of NHS Digital data suggesting that while the Covid-19 crisis is affecting people of all ages, the under-18s are suffering most.

The charity’s Education team have been on the frontline in tackling this issue by working with dozens of young people aged 11-13 on their early-intervention programmes funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, which include a bespoke package of mentoring and one-to-one support incorporating behavioural sessions, physical activity and extra educational provision for those students identified as being at high risk of getting involved in potentially dangerous or criminal situations.

Over 100 young people have now benefitted from taking part in the charity’s Youth Endowment programmes, which are now being delivered to pupils at five Leeds high schools- Bishop Young CoE Academy, Carr Manor Community School, Co-Op Academy Leeds, Roundhay School and Leeds East Academy.

To mark this Mental Health Awareness Week, participants were joined by Leeds Rhinos legend and Foundation project officer Brett Delaney for a discussion around mental fitness and the importance of prioritising our physical and mental health. They also considered the differences between behaviour and feelings and the body changes we may experience when we become upset or angry.

Following their classroom-based workshops, students then enjoyed the chance to participate outdoor diversionary activities delivered by staff from Herd Farm Activity Centre- including Archery, Relay Races and Team-Building games.

And it is apt that this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is nature, with the Mental Health Foundation promoting the positive impact nature and being active outdoors has on our mental health through the hashtag #ConnectWithNature.

Those in need of support can now benefit from a whole range of helpful resources produced by MindWell – the mental health website for people in Leeds.

Click here to check out their brand new a Coronavirus Mental Health Information Hub, which will act as a portal, bringing together information about mental health and Covid-19 for people in Leeds. For more information, visit

To find out more about our Youth Endowment resilience programmes, or how your school could benefit from this initiative, please contact