Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society (BCCS) working partnership

Updated: June 2024

The Charlie Watkins Foundation is supporting an initiative focusing on normalising mental health issues among young boys by empowering them to speak up and seek support that they need when things are hard. There is emphasis on providing the support necessary to use talking as a way of taking back control of mental health concerns. 

The project includes a number of sessions delivered directly in schools, which explore themes such as ‘toxic masculinity’, ‘cancel culture’ and media discourse. Discussions about the influence of language on masculinity, and information about mental health and statistics will be the core themes of the sessions. These will be supplemented with activities centred around active listening skills and emotional literacy. 

Trained counsellors use therapeutic interventions to connect with the boys, and challenge the expectations placed on them with honesty and active listening. The sessions are free of charge to maximise participation and provide a positive experience of exploring their emotions without feeling fear, judgment or shame, which will in turn support them to access further help if they need it. 

Information will be provided to encourage conversations about male mental health, such as the concerning statistics around male suicide, and the disparity between the numbers of men who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder and those who seek interventions. Examples are offered of organisations such as men’s groups and sports teams designed specifically to offer spaces in which men can feel supported to talk about their difficulties. This is intended to help boys realise the importance of their mental health and encourage them to develop healthy coping mechanisms for the future.