Emotional Health

YST Emotional Health
The issue of declining wellbeing has never been more apparent when looking at the rise in mental health problems suffered by children of all ages.

With one in eight (12.8%) of 5-19 year olds now having a diagnosable mental health illness the role of PE, sport and play is even more critical to improving children’s happiness and state of mind than before.


There are some alarming increases in mental health disorders which is often linked to other demographics such as child poverty, low income and low social mobility issues. Girls are more likely to have an emotional disorder (10.9%) than boys as they go through adolescence, but there is now a sharp increase in boys with either hyperactivity (3.2%) or behavioural disorders (7.4%) with primary aged boys (12.2%) now about twice as likely to have a diagnosable mental health disorder than girls (6.6%).


We have been taking positive action for three years now and have a number of flagship programmes which are using the power of PE and sport to primarily focus on improving mental health outcomes. For schools who wish to remodel their curriculum for longer term wellbeing gains or are looking for more targeted interventions; we have grounded our programmes on the principles of what works to improve mental health through other programmes and services, and the science behind movement and brain functioning to deliver ground-breaking programmes.

There are a number of products and programmes which could support you:

  • Active Healthy Minds - We have been pioneering new ways of using sport to ensure that we address the alarming decline in children's physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Our local commissioning work is a key driver to achieving this with diverse and innovative approaches being led by collaborations across all sectors.
  • Active in Mind - This programme offers peer mentoring support to young people experiencing mental wellbeing issues as well as creating innovative sport and physical activity opportunities for a targeted group of young people – increasing levels of activity in a safe and supported environment.
  • Girls Active - We recognise that girls' needs differ and change as they mature and that girls themselves are uniquely positioned to 'sell' PE and sport to other girls.
  • Living for Sport - The Living for Sport programme has been proven to tackle declining emotional wellbeing and boost confidence and resilience in young people.

YST also partner with Connect Sport on the #21by21 campaign. This national campaign brings together sports organisations with business and policy-makers in a pledge to provide 21,000 community sport coaches and volunteers with mental health awareness training by 2021. 

Find out more here