Resilience pathway unveiled as part of £11m Blackpool mental health initiative

A special pathway along Talbot Road has been unveiled as part of an £11 million pound scheme aimed at protecting the mental health of young people in Blackpool.

Forty-two paving stones have been laid at intervals along Talbot Road to create a mental health pathway - conveying simple messages about the positive things in life.

The Resilience Revolution scheme aims to connect every school in the resort with easy access to council, social and health services should they need them.

Regular "resilience" classes are taught, in which youngsters are helped to overcome tough times in their lives. 

Blackpool was ranked the most deprived town in England a few years ago, and while mental health problems exist everywhere, in poorer towns the need is often greater and the provision of support often weaker.

It's all been made possible by a grant from the National Lottery to form the HeadStart initiative.

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Pauline Wigglesworth oversees the programme and said: "It's not news that Blackpool struggles - we usually end up on the wrong part of every league table but what is great about the resilience revolution is we are turning that on its head.

"We have actually got a plan to make Blackpool a more resilient town to grow up in, and young people are front and centre of that."

Wellbeing coach Annie Tyas says the way children live their lives through the prism of social media means there's an increasing need for this kind of help.

"Like it or not, the world has really changed," she said. "Everything is instant and we are just trying to show them that when something goes wrong it isn't the end of the world."

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The project is reaching almost every young person in the town. Measuring success isn't straightforward but there is now a growing list of young people in Blackpool achieving small goals and avoiding the traps they could easily fall into.

Life will still sometimes be "the school of hard knocks", but they make no apology in Blackpool for equipping their young people with the skills to survive it.

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