Working with Business in the Community to support youth mental health

We’re working with BITC to support local communities and as part of the AXA Head Coaches programme, we’re helping community youth leaders spot potential mental health issues amongst young people.


15 August 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 grow and thrive. We have an ambition to train 250 community youth leaders through the successful AXA Head Coaches programme – a youth focused mental health initiative designed to help leaders in the community spot potential mental health issues amongst the young people they work with and signpost them to professional support.

AXA Head Coaches has already proven beneficial in schools, through our partnership with Teach First and also in the community through our relationship with the Liverpool FC Foundation.

Recently, a further 52 community youth leaders from 41 different organisations across the country completed the Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions training through the AXA UK and BITC partnership.


said they felt better able to support the mental health of young people


said they developed new or existing skills


said they felt more confident to start supportive conversations and listen non-judgementally to young people


said they felt more confident to help young people with mental health issues seek further support and professional help


said they felt more confident following the training to spot the signs and triggers of mental health issues

Art Play Environment Project Community Interest Company Bristol logo

A really wonderful and interactive online course. The trainer was an amazing host, they went above and beyond in making sure everyone understood each aspect of the course. The platform is extremely easy to use and the course handouts are easy to access and understand. The highlight of the course for me, was how child-participated it felt. Through using children's artwork, the host was really able to capture what the children and young people had to say about their own thoughts and feelings, in their own words and I feel this rightfully gave them a seat at the table during the group discussions throughout the course.

Keisha Jarvis, Youth Worker at The APE project CIC (Bristol)
Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire logo

Really good course, would recommend to anyone working with young people.

Carol Carter, Senior Support Officer at Carer’s Support Centre (Bristol)
Key 4 Life logo

The trainer has been fantastic and I’ve enjoyed all the training. I’ve learnt a lot also and will implement into my workforce.

Samira Kelay, Employability Manager at Key4Life (London)

Delivered online, the programme is a mix of presentations, discussions and activities where AXA Health clinicians and mental health experts train community youth leaders as Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions. They explore how to identify mental health issues, how to confidently approach supportive conversations and listen non-judgementally, and how to help young people seek further guidance by signposting them towards appropriate professional help.

With more sessions planned for later in the year, we aim to achieve our ambition of training 250 community youth leaders before the end of 2023. Young people shouldn’t have to deal with difficult feelings alone.

Headshot of Cath Brunger, CR Manager, AXA UK

Good mental health is vital and we feel passionate about doing our bit in society to support the wellbeing of young people. We’re really proud to be working with BITC to increase the reach of the AXA Head Coaches programme in our local communities. Together we are equipping community youth leaders with important skills to ensure young people get the help and support they need.

Cath Brunger, CR Manager at AXA UK
Headshot of Ellie Socha, Head of Operations (Communities), BITC

The sessions have been a great opportunity for collaboration within the sector, providing an opportunity for youth leaders working across different geographies, to come together on a common issue, learn from each other and share knowledge and experience in a safe space. It has been a pleasure to partner with AXA UK on this much-needed programme. The skills and insights gained will stay with these Champions for the long term and help to support more young people in local communities to get the support they need.

Ellie Socha, Head of Operations (Communities) at BITC