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Can learning improve your health and wellbeing?

Yes, according to the recent findings from a national survey undertaken to explore the impact of learning on a person’s mental health.

Adult learners at Knowsley’s Family and Community Education service participated in the national study which aimed to assesses the potential for adult and community learning courses to help people develop the tools, strategies and resilience to manage (and aid recovery from) mild to moderate mental health problems.

Research was conducted by the Department for Education and independently evaluated by Ipsos Mori.

Knowsley’s programme which is running until December 2020, is called Reach Out to Face Forward currently funded by Big Lottery Reaching Communities.  It focusses on self-management to deal with challenges faced due to mental health. During the first two years of the Face Forward programme, 348 people took part.

Key results from the research found that:-

  • 54% of learners who started on Face Forward with clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and / or depression no longer had clinically significant symptoms at the end of their course. This is slightly higher than the national average (52%).
  • The average wellbeing of learners increased by 3.6 points over two years (the national average was a 2.4 point national improvement).
  • Nationally, 80% of learners felt that they had made progress throughout the duration of the course with a 52% saying that they would go on to further learning.
  • Nationally, 79% reported an improvement in taking a positive approach to things and 77% stated they were better looking after their health and wellbeing.
  • The majority of participants also noted improvements in their own confidence.

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said

“Feedback from participants shows that Face Forward is benefitting our residents  in terms of boosting their confidence which in turn is helping them to explore and achieve employment or further training opportunities. Courses offer a range of activities to cater for everyone, aimed at supporting people to recognise and make the most of their talents and resources.  Support is tailored towards self-management so individuals are better to deal with the mental health challenges they experience. These results show that the programme is having a positive impact on those who have taken part.”

Activities available through the Face Forward programme include craft activities, learning about your family history / local history, progressing your English and maths skills, photography, mentoring support and volunteering. The programme is delivered in a range of venues across the borough, including medical centres.

Further information, visit the FACE website or contact Alex Horrocks on 0151 443 5400.

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