Change Talks is an esteemed, award-winning health education initiative offered by Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust. With a remarkable track record, this services extends comprehensive health education to both youths and adults, delving into critical subjects such as anxiety, depression, risk-taking behaviours, stress management, and eating disorders. Notably, each session is meticulously co-created by individuals with first hand experiences and esteemed healthcare professionals.
Central to Change Talks is its primary focus on educational institutions, particularly schools and colleges, with a profound objective of nurturing resilient young individuals while enhancing their overall health and well-being. Since its inception in 2017, Change Talks has played a pivotal role in disseminating health education across Lancashire and South Cumbria, reaching an impressive count of over 100,000 young people aged 11 to 21. This monumental achievement has been made possible through the rigorous training of 80 proficient facilitators, including school staff, associate psychologists, and mental health transformation officers from community trusts affiliated with football teams. A testament to its impact, Change Talks has solidified its position as a trailblazing trainer for the English Football League Community Trusts, notably within the North West region.
The year 2021 marked a significant turning point, witnessing an escalating demand for Change Talks to extend its invaluable services to children with special needs. Responding adeptly to this call, the service successfully piloted sessions tailored for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).
The comprehensive Change Talks curriculum covers a spectrum of crucial topics, each meticulously curated by those with lived experiences and healthcare expertise. From stress management and fostering healthy relationships to addressing depression, anxiety, and risky behaviours, the service leaves no stone unturned. It even includes domains such as self-harm, body image concerns, substance awareness, and embracing diversity.
Further enhancing its impact, Change Talks offers two specialised programmes, Start Talks and Ready Talks, both collaboratively developed with young individuals who have walked similar paths. These programmes have been meticulously crafted through focus group sessions involving primary school participants, ensuring that the content resonates deeply with its target audience. Start Talks focuses on early educational years, imparting crucial lessons about emotions, communication, coping mechanisms, resilience, and self-awareness. Designed for efficiency, sessions are engaging and concise, lasting approximately 20 minutes. On the other hand, Ready Talks, catering to children in year 5 and 6, readies them for the transition to high school. It delves into similar themes as Start Talks but expands its purview to address risk-taking behaviours relevant to their stage of development.
Change Talks impact is evident in its multifaceted approach to fostering understanding and resilience. With meticulous lesson planning, the program seeks to build rapport, diminish stigmas, and introduce essential coping tools. "Magic box" concepts and the distribution of "Start Talks Journal" and "Ready Talks Journal" ensure continual support and reference materials for participants.
Change Talks also brings its expertise to the corporate sector, fostering a culture of wellness and resilience. Through tailored sessions, workshops, and seminars, businesses can empower their workforce with essential knowledge about stress management, mental health, healthy lifestyle choices, and effective communication. This strategic investment in employee well-being not only enhances job satisfaction and morale but also leads to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and improved overall organisational performance. Change Talks ability to coalesce lived experiences with professional insights ensures that businesses receive an impactful and engaging health education experience, positively influencing the physical and mental well-being of their employees, and ultimately contributing to a thriving, harmonious work environment.
As a forward-looking service, Change Talks remains responsive to feedback, constantly refining its curriculum to meet evolving educational and societal needs. By integrating lived experiences with expert knowledge, the service ensures that participants gain a comprehensive understanding of vital topics while developing the skills needed to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. In essence, Change Talks stands as a pioneering force in health education, enriching the lives of countless individuals across Lancashire, South Cumbria and beyond.