Supporting youth mental health with Teach First

Young people shouldn’t have to deal with difficult feelings alone. So we delivered the AXA Head Coaches programme with Teach First to help support youth mental health.


9 May 2022

Looking after our mental health and physical wellbeing is incredibly important. And for young people especially, maintaining good mental health is vital so they can thrive at school and grow-up enjoying life. After a successful start launching this partnership with Liverpool FC in 2019, we partnered with Teach First in June 2021 to help support youth mental health in schools through AXA Head Coaches.

Teach First is a charity that develops and supports teachers and school leaders who are determined to make a difference where it's needed most. And together, we delivered the AXA Head Coaches programme to schools in disadvantaged communities. The programme starts with AXA Health clinicians and experts who train teachers and pastoral leaders to become Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions. By providing them with the skills and confidence to spot common signs and triggers of ill mental health, they can help pupils seek further guidance by signposting them to appropriate professional help.

The pandemic has been challenging for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s really important that we prioritise their mental health alongside their education. Before COVID-19, one in nine young people (aged 6 to 16) suffered with a mental health issue. This has increased over the last few years to reach one in six in 20211.

Launched last year, the AXA Head Coaches programme has trained 58 teachers and pastoral leaders, which gives us the potential to reach out and help 11,580 pupils.

We spoke to Lucy Wright, an English Teacher from Pakefield School in Suffolk, to find out more about the programme and how it has helped her support young people.

1 “Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2021” published by NHS Digital, 30 September 2021