In October 2018, The Russell School was awarded a small grant from Team London to help turn their idea for a mental health social action project into a reality. Their idea: “Bubbles for Troubles”, a mental health support bag inspired by the wellbeing section of the Team London Young Ambassadors Social Action Toolkit and by a social action workshop from Team London.
Based on class discussions on issues they cared about – mental health was the clear stand-out priority. Jessica described the experiences of her Grandad Duncan in his Dementia home. Jago described how it helps him to recognise feelings (he remembered a mindfulness week activity where we used bubbles to label feelings, blow them and let the feelings go) and Enzo wanted “Anyone, anywhere, to always be accepted.”
The class have used their small grant to make little bags containing tubs of bubbles, happiness thoughts they have written, and other kind gifts all packaged and ready to show others that someone cares.
The instructions provided say that each bubble represents an emotion or situation that troubles you or that you cannot control. When you blow them, you are letting those feeling go. The children feel this provides them with a way to manage feelings and troubles.
The bags will be used in school with all children, not just the stressed or worried children, because they felt they don’t know what goes on behind the scenes in people’s minds. The class would also like to teach others or anyone else who needs to find a way to manage their own troubles, such as the specialist dementia unit, Woodville Centre at Ham.
The children visited the Woodville Centre at Christmas to sing to the residents, spreading spread happiness amongst the whole community.
The school are now looking at setting up some sharing time with other local schools to enable them to facilitate mental health work too.
“Jessica – When we ordered the equipment ourselves I felt so important and special, it wasn’t really real until all the boxes arrived and we got to make the bags with the whole class. That was a good day.”
“Enzo – Managing our own feelings is so important for us to stay healthy, we run around and keep our bodies fit but we need to think about managing and keeping our minds fit too.”
“Jago – I’ve loved using the bubbles myself to cope with my feelings when I’m thinking about if I’ll do OK in my tests. Every bubbles feels like I’m letting go…”
About Team London Young Ambassadors
Team London Young Ambassadors is the Mayor’s school volunteering programme which connects young Londoners with their communities through social action.
Since 2013, thousands of young people have improved their school and communities by setting up projects on issues they really care about, such as LGBTQ+, food poverty, bullying and refugees. They are also taking action on key Mayoral priorities, including air quality and the environment, gangs and knife crime, gender equality, homelessness, mental health and wellbeing, and social integration.
Thanks to generous funding from #iwill Fund we will continue delivering the programme until 2020, helping us to target even more young people and able to focus on areas of social deprivation and those at risk of becoming socially excluded.