Recap: De Bruyne and Bardsley help celebrate Children's Mental Health week

Manchester City is proud to once again be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, a week-long initiative which aims to create a conversation around mental wellbeing.

To celebrate the occasion, we are looking back at Kevin De Bruyne and Karen Bardsley’s visit to Oasis Academy Oldham, during Children’s Mental Health Week 2022.

City in the Community marked the week with a series of tailored sessions and player appearances.

Workshops and discussions around the topic of mental resilience took place within the charity’s mental health programme, City Thrive.

City and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley rang into a primary school group, followed by Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne who took time out to speak with students at Oasis Academy Oldham.

Both players discussed what being resilient means to them, and how they try to stay mentally positive even through more difficult times.

Participants were then given the opportunity to ask their own questions to both players in a Q&A session.

De Bruyne said: “Be yourself, be whatever you think you are and if something is going on or you are not really acting the right way, I think your friends should be there for you, your family and then I think you will know in what state of mind you are in and that is more important than what other people are saying about you.”

Steve, a teacher from Oasis Oldham, said: “The programme on mental health City in the Community deliver in our school has been invaluable.

“It gives students a safe place to open up about things that concern them, things that are worrying them and to let them know that it is OK to not be OK. It’s made a huge, tangible difference.”

Both sessions incorporated Manchester City Academy Coach, Jamie Carr, who embarked on his ‘Nothing Ventured Challenge’ in 2022, which will saw him run 250km through the Sahara Desert in March, ahead of rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Jamie added: “Now I can see first-hand how impactful the work can be to children in the Manchester area gives me a push and helps with my motivation during those tough times either when I am training or when I am undertaking the challenges.

“Since the pandemic, I think programmes like this are massively important for young people. I think we’re all extremely proud of City in the Community for breaking barriers with City Thrive – long may it continue.”

When asked about Jamie’s challenge, Kevin said: “I think you are a little bit crazy, I wouldn’t do it!

“I respect it, it is a big challenge for yourself and the fact that you are doing it for a good cause makes it even better.”

City Thrive is delivered in partnership with the NHS and includes a new mental health curriculum, blending specially adapted football sessions with one-to-one mentoring and group workshops on mental health awareness, to improve mental wellbeing for people up to 25-years-of-age.

Additionally, specific mental health themed football sessions are delivered from youth clubs across Manchester, enabling participants to enjoy physical activity whilst also accessing the benefits of one-to-one mentoring and group workshops.

These sessions will continue throughout the school holidays, offering support and food provisions at a time when young people are most vulnerable to suffering with their physical and mental health.

Staff have been trained to help identify, support and refer potential mental health issues for any participant.

An NHS clinician has also been placed with City in the Community to support delivery staff and ensure that participants are offering immediate support for their mental wellbeing should it be required.

To donate to Jamie’s ‘Nothing Ventured Campaign’ which supports the City Thrive programme visit: www.nothingventuredcampaign.com/donate

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