Mental Skills Training (MST) for Life is a groundbreaking programme delivered in partnership with the School of Sports Science at the University of Birmingham. It has become a central component of St Basils Learning, Skills and Work (LSW) offer to young people and those who are currently NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) are in particular encouraged to take part in the programme, which uses similar techniques to those used by sports coaches to help young people establish aspirations, set goals and utilise support networks to build confidence and develop team work and problem solving skills. All this is aimed at helping St Basils young residents, many of whom have complex needs having suffered isolation, social disadvantage and poor mental health before they accessed our services, to move forward in life and make the most of education, work and training opportunities. The project aims to help young people build the mental resilience needed to cope with rejection or disappointment as those applying for jobs may have to face and to train young people to refocus on their goals and try again, just as successful sportsmen and women are trained to do.
Working in partnership with St Basils since 2012 on Psychologically Informed Approaches and with our Learning, Skills and Work team since 2013, the University of Birmingham have developed an extremely comprehensive programme fully tailored to the needs of our young people, which uses group activities and individual tasks followed by structured group reflection and discussion to help young people understand how to utilise and apply these skills in real life situations.
The 10 week programme culminates in a residential trip to the University's Raymond Priestley Centre at Lake Coniston, an environment that offers a variety of activities aimed at pushing young people outside of their comfort zones by challenging them and proving to them that they can achieve more than they think they can, that the only barrier holding them back is their own mental thought process. These exercises give young people a sense of achievement and a taste of the rewards that come with giving activities they've never done before a try.