Bounce Back wellbeing program piloted with local school Throughout 2021, our YHOP team continued to work closely with our school and community partners despite very restricted (or zero) face-to-face activities to ensure that young people’s needs were continuing to be met, regardless of the Covid situation. As a part of the sustained connection with the Wellbeing Team at Roxburgh College, we were able to identify a number of students aged 14 through 17-years-old who were showing signs of above-average social and academic challenges, behavioural issues, and a lack of stability or positivity in their home environments. A large part of these challenges stemmed from the back-and-forth lifestyle changes associated with transitioning back into the classroom in between lockdowns. To prevent further disengagement from students returning to the classroom, we collaborated with Roxburgh College to pilot a 4-week virtual wellbeing program for two different student groups. Introducing… Bounce Back! A specialised program that engages young people in building positive relationships with their school, developing life skills, promoting positive mental health improvements and improve the transition back to school (after lockdowns) through an activity-based, virtual program. During the program, we quickly identified that the lifestyle change associated with transitioning out of lockdowns and back to the classroom setting wasn’t the only challenge for young people. Two of the other main barriers were poor mental health and overall wellbeing – two barriers that were not being sufficiently addressed in a way that worked for young people already disengaging with school. In response, we focussed the program on four core components that could be delivered in combination with YHOP’s existing program model to build a strong solution that is relevant, engaging, and sustainable for disengaged young people. Bounce Back focusses on building capacities to deal with negative emotions, creating positive outlets, creating positive relationships with mates, teachers, and others, and develops participants’ social health and life skills. To understand the impact of the pilot, we asked participants a few questions at the start of the virtual program and after the last session based on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale. There was a 62% increase in young people feeling that they are now able to better deal with problems and, a 70% increase in young people now having people to talk to when they feel angry/sad/stressed. This was reinforced by anecdotal feedback from the participants and teachers, alike. “YHOP are amazing and we appreciate you!” “My friends were really helpful – they shared and listened” “Thank you for making this happen” YHOP are hoping to take this successful pilot into more classrooms in 2022, but we need your help. Please consider donating to see programs just like Bounce Back be made available to young people right across Melbourne.