New board game helps young people in Leeds to talk about mental health

A new board game, developed by the NHS Leeds working in partnership with local charity Space2, will help young people in Leeds talk about mental health issues.

MindMaze has been developed by arts and social change charity Space2, working with groups of young people from across the city. It is a team game for up to 12 players aged 11-16, where each team must get their character, who is ‘lost in space’, back down to Earth. They do this by making their way through the maze and completing different tasks related to mental health and stigma.

In this way, the game aims to make mental health something that is talked about in a more relaxed way particularly amongst teenagers. It also encourages young people to visit the MindMate website (www.mindmate.org.uk), which provides mental health and emotional wellbeing advice to young people across Leeds.

Paul Barker, Space2’s Mental Health Project Manager, said: “MindMaze teaches young people that we all have something to contribute when it comes to discussing mental health and supporting friends.

“We hope that Mind Maze will help young people to explore their issues in a way that is comfortable, fun and reassuring.”

Over the past eighteen months Bishop Young Academy in Leeds has been developing its provision to support the positive mental health of students, staff and parents and the school is working hard to reduce stigma in this area.

Paul Cooper, Principal for Bishop Young Academy said: “Mind Maze is an important part of this provision and our partnership with Space2, alongside our wider wellbeing package, is having a significant impact on student and adult welfare.”

Kiera, pupil from Bishop Young Academy, said: “When I played it helped me to think about how other people might feel when they’re having good and bad days with their mental health.

“It informed me how to help people when they need it.”

Dr Jane Mischenko, Lead Commissioner for Children and Maternity at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We wanted to take a slightly different approach to how we could break down mental health stigma amongst young people.

“By introducing MindMaze it will encourage young people to talk more openly about mental health, like they would if they were talking about a game of sports.

“It also directs young people to the MindMate website which has a wealth of resources where they can get support, including local and national organisations.”

Paul Barker from Space2, said “The game has been developed with young people all the way through, from the original concept, through to the visual design and the content of the tasks and questions.

“The feedback we’ve had from young people playing the game is that it’s really fun, and it gives them a chance to chat openly about mental health in a safe setting. It is a great resource for anyone working with young people.”

If you work with young people and would like to borrow a copy of MindMaze, please contact the Public Health Resource Centre on 0113 378 6200 or email phrc@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors

MindMaze

The idea for the game, which has been over two years in the making, was initially developed by ‘Shout Out’. They were a group of young people who campaigned to challenge mental health stigma in Leeds. When working with a group of design students from Leeds Beckett University, they came up with the idea of a maze to represent the challenges young people can face when experiencing mental health problems. Space2 were then funded by the CCG to develop the game into a resource to be used with groups of young people. For further information about the project, please contact Paul Barker at Space2 on 0113 320 0159 or email paulb@space2.org.uk

Space2

Space2 is a successful arts and social change organisation, established in 2003.  We pioneer arts and social change practice, alongside programmes of community development to help bring about transformation in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Leeds and in the country – Gipton and Seacroft fall in the lowest 5% Super Output Areas for multiple deprivation. As part of this work we address issues linked to people’s under-representation and marginalisation to support them to build community cohesion and find a voice.

MindMate

MindMate is a dedicated mental health and emotional wellbeing website (https://www.mindmate.org.uk/) in Leeds for young people (age 12 – 25), parents and professionals who work with young people.

Future in Mind: Leeds (Local Transformational Plan, 2016-2020)

The Future in Mind looks to improve the emotional and mental health of children and young people across the city. Click on the following link to view the plan https://www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/content/uploads/2016/11/FINAL-FiM-Leeds-LTP-Oct18.pdf