Burnley FC in the Community’s Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project

Burnley FC in the Community’s Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project

Colne Primet Academy Case Study

Burnley FC in the Community’s Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project (SMWP) uses the appeal of the Premier League and Burnley Football Club to support the mental wellbeing of young people in our community. The project also aims to tackle the lack of provisions within children and adolescent mental health services and to empower young people so that they can become resilient and lead happy, fulfilling lives. The project can be delivered through both one-to-one and group support, as well as engaging the wider school community to help promote wellbeing, resilience and work towards the mentally healthy school status. Burnley FC in the Community aims to support young people with their mental wellbeing by providing early intervention support, to build resilience and create a future generation of mentally healthy individuals. We want to work with schools to help support students to lead fulfilling lives and break the stigmas associated with mental health. 


Background information:

This student was presenting with low mood, after support from the project’s Mental Wellbeing Worker (MWW), the student’s issues were managed, and there had been a significant positive difference to his life. 


The student’s story

The school’s Mental Wellbeing project has helped me because when I first met Deborah, I was feeling down all the time. I had stopped doing things I enjoyed and was avoiding speaking to my friends. I wanted to feel better but felt like I couldn’t motivate myself to change. Deborah helped me to understand my low mood and work out that my Grandma passing away just before lockdown is when my low mood started and having no one to talk to and avoiding my friends was keeping my low mood going. We did activities in the session to help me practice tracking my mood she helped me work out things I can do to make me feel better about myself.

I learned how to notice signs of my mood dropping low by taking notice of how I am thinking and if I am starting to avoid things again. Now I plan things into my week, like football, fishing and talking to my mates, I’ve even got a paper round which helps me keep fit and gives me extra spending money. I feel like I have more confidence and I sleep better which helps me enjoy school more. I liked the sessions I did with Deborah because I felt comfortable speaking to her, she listened to me and she understood how I felt about things.

I still have days when I feel down about things but I now know it is normal to be down sometimes, now I plan things in my week so my low mood doesn’t last as long and I can cope with it better.

My teachers at school and my Mum have noticed my mood is better and I am more positive about my future personal goals.

If other students were feeling low or worried about how they feel, I would tell them to speak to someone about it, someone like Deborah who will listen and help you work out why you feel low and ways to help you cope with things better.


Deborah (MWW’s) case study observations: 

The student was initially referred to me by the school’s Pastoral team as he had been struggling with low mood, which was having a daily impact on his school life and Mental Wellbeing. The Pastoral team thought he may benefit from some low intensity CBT based strategies to help improve his mood and assist with school engagement.

When I initially met with the student, it became apparent, he was not coping well, and his low mood was affecting his relationship with peers, school, his confidence, and his sleep. He was also struggling with a family bereavement which had left him feeling “empty and sad.”

We worked together to explore potential triggers for his low mood. The student noticed that the onset of his low mood was when his family member became ill and sadly passed away just before the start of the National Lockdown. The student mentioned he felt like he could not be bothered joining in with friends and began to avoid them. The student also noticed he was finding it difficult to concentrate in lessons, felt unmotivated and had issues with sleeping.

We had an initial assessment and an hour-long full assessment; this enabled the student to explore and understand his cycle of low mood and how it was impacting on his daily living. We agreed to work together and had 10 60 minute 1-2-1 sessions together.

Psychoeducation about the low mood at the onset of the sessions enabled the student to understand how low mood presents. In addition, CBT informed Behavioural Activation allowed the student to notice that withdrawing from pleasurable activities was maintaining his low mood and recognise that his daily life was filled with mostly routine and necessary activities and very few pleasurable activities. At the start of treatment sessions, we noted that Lockdown restrictions were also a barrier to some of the outdoor activities that the student used to enjoy. We identified a manageable step of joining the dinner time gardening club at school. We also scheduled short activities within session to assist the student practice tracking his mood rating before and after an activity.

The student attended all sessions on time, motivation to improve his mood increased with the more activities that he scheduled into his week. Over the course of the treatment sessions, the student continued to track his mood and began to gradually schedule pleasurable activities into his week and took back up his hobby of fishing. The student’s wellbeing began to increase, which was observed with improvement in relationships, school engagement, sleep and significantly reduced PHQ/GAD scores. The student now schedules and maintains a balance of pleasurable activities throughout the week and has continued to monitor his mood and had delight in reporting to me he now also has a paper round which keeps him fit, helps to improve his mood and gives him extra money to spend on other activities he enjoys. This shows that the student has utilised the work we did in sessions and is a testament to his belief and dedication to improving his own Mental Wellbeing.