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The impact of peer mentoring on students’ physical activity and mental health

Jonathan Glazzard (Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)
Anthea Rose (School of Education and Childhood, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)
Paul Ogilvie (School of Education and Childhood, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 21 July 2021

Issue publication date: 21 July 2021

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217

Abstract

Purpose

A peer-mentoring scheme was implemented in a secondary school using a physical activity (PA) intervention to improve mental health outcomes of students who were at risk of developing mental ill health. These students are referred to as mentees. The evaluation was a qualitative design using focus groups and semi-structured interviews. The participants reported an increase in PA in both peer mentors and mentees. By the end of the project many of the mentees recognised that they had increased their levels of PA, they were more aware of the benefits of PA and the relationship between PA and their mental health. In addition, mentees reported feeling more confident and were more confident in forming social relationships. Peer mentors reported developing many leadership skills during the project. These included improved communication, confidence, empathy for others, relationship building and improved self-awareness. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative data were primarily collected from nine case study schools. Each visit included interviews with peer mentors, mentees and the Wellbeing Champion.

Findings

Mentees developed improved social confidence and were generally more positive after completing the intervention. Mentors developed leadership skills and greater empathy for their peers.

Originality/value

There is limited research on school-based PA interventions using peer mentoring to improve students’ mental health.

Keywords

Citation

Glazzard, J., Rose, A. and Ogilvie, P. (2021), "The impact of peer mentoring on students’ physical activity and mental health", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 122-131. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-10-2018-0073

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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