In an age when it is estimated that one in ten young people experience a mental health issue at any one time, and record numbers of young people are struggling due to factors such as social media, bullying, and academic pressures – we believe that Scouts has a place in giving young people and adults skills for life; and in supporting young people and adults to access further support.
This page was published to support World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2022


Our District #youthshaped 5 year plan was updated in 2021/22 to reflect on the emergence of issues which the Covid lockdown had created for young people’s well-being.

The Children’s Society Good Childhood Report 2022 shows that children’s happiness continues to decline. Young people are on average less happy with their life as a whole, school, friends and how they look than ten years ago. Young people are telling us what needs to change and we must listen. Read more about the report key findings here

Mental health can sometimes feel like a complex and intimidating subject. However, anyone can experience a mental ill health, so being able to talk about it’s important to us all. And you don’t need to be an expert on mental health to make a difference Some people find it difficult to talk about mental health and wellbeing. Being open and gently encouraging conversation helps mental health to become an everyday topic that people are more comfortable to talk about. 

Often, small everyday actions can make the biggest difference. Scouting can play an important role in supporting mental health and wellbeing, as research has shown that young people who are involved in Scouts or Guides have better mental health in later life. Read about it here.

Lots of things can impact mental wellbeing for young people and adults such as a challenging time at work or at school but more recently COVID-19 and the social isolation that ensued.

1 in 4 adults and 1 in 8 young people experience a mental health problem. 

You may be noticing the impact of Mental Health Issues within the Groups that you are working in. If you are concerned about an adult volunteer or young person’s wellbeing, try to stay calm and have a conversation with them. Where appropriate you might have a conversation with the young person’s parent or carer.

If a young person is at immediate risk of significant harm follow the advice and guidance set out within the Yellow Card and inform their parents or carers.

Scout Groups and Explorer Units should appoint a leader (or someone appropriate) with specific responsibility for well-being within their group or unit, to provide necessary support to young people, as appropriate, and to encourage others to be a Well-being champion within Scouting sections.

Scouting resources

There are resources specific to this topic on the UK Scout website:

– about mental health, including links to other sources for help for young people – click here

– resources to become a well-being Champion – for both adults and young people and age-related challenges – click here

A Million Hands resource pack was published by Scouts UK in association with the charity Mind in 2015 and contains many ideas on how to link talking about well being with section activity badges and challenge badges. You can download a copy from our District website via this link:  A-Million-Hands-Mental-Wellbeing-Resililence- You can read about the Scout Association partnership with Mind here

The Kent Scouts Mental Health Matters pages. The material is divided up into separate pages for Leaders, Parents and Scouts. The page for Scouts includes mini films: Eating matters, Sleep matters, Reality matters, Exercise matters and Positivity matters. The leaders page needs registration to download resources and we are checking if we can register as a District outside Kent. You can access their key page here

The World Organisation for the Scouting Movement has also posted the Mental Health toolkit was designed to support Explorer/Network members and Adult leaders to discuss safely the topic of mental health with their scouts. You can find it here. An addition resource on the well-being of Scout leaders can be found here

Other resources

The British Red Cross has a lot of pages on wellbeing. Although slanted towards older people and loneliness, it includes teaching resources for children – specifically on the topic of kindness. It has a resource pack to help young people with first aid, empathy building and coping with loneliness. The British Red Cross provide on-line or face-to-face workshops for schools and community groups. For more details click on the link here

The Children’s Society has an A to Z of mental health topics, which provides advice across some 12 core topics, aimed at mid-to-older teens.  You can access it here

Mentally Healthy Schools includes resources for school classes, small groups or 1-to-1. It has a searchable database by topic. You can access their website here


Nature and the outdoors are languages that can be learned. Once you identify a beech tree, tie a clove hitch or cook a simple meal over a fire that you’ve built yourself, you’ll never forget it.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls