More than 150 young people in schools across South Lanarkshire are now skilled to support their peers' mental health.

A total of 151 students from 12 schools took part in the Peer Supporters Training Programme by Scottish Action for Mental Health (SAMH).

The training gives thousands of students from across the region the option to seek support from a peer when they are experiencing mental health problems or low well-being.

The scheme includes eight hours of training for S3 and S4 pupils, focusing on mental health peer support and prioritising early intervention and prevention.

Participating students also plan sessions where peer supporters develop ideas for regular well-being drop-in sessions, with activities featured so far including podcasting on mental health, practicing self-care, and arts and crafts sessions such as crafting stress balls.

(Image: SAMH)

The training had an overwhelmingly positive response, with 95 percent of trainees self-rating their understanding of mental health as high after training – a rise from the 52 percent pre-training.

Calderside Academy in Blantyre, where 16 students took part in the training, now offers weekly drop-ins, focusing on small activities for maintaining mental well-being.

SAMH offers continued support for the students after the initial training.

Erica Barclay, a peer supporter, said: "I really enjoyed the training.

"I feel like we have become a very welcoming and caring group for young people to come to.

“The training has changed my view of mental health and how it can affect people in many different ways.

“We have even learned how to support each other with our own mental health. I now look forward to helping other pupils at my school as a relatable peer supporter.”

Miss McDonald, a teacher at Calderside Academy, said: “The SAMH training has had such a positive impact at Calderside Academy.

“Pupils have much more of an opportunity to discuss how they are feeling and what they are going through to a very relatable group of pupils.

“Our peer supporters are a confident and friendly bunch and are now well equipped to help many of our pupils at Calderside who might need support.”

Catherine Knox, team leader at SAMH, said: “The mental health of children today is the mental health of adults tomorrow and, ultimately, the most powerful part of the Peer Supporters Training Programme is that it’s pupil-led.

“It’s all about the young people coming together to connect, drive the positive change they want to see and make safe spaces within their schools.

“It is also a privilege to be working alongside teachers who despite the pressures associated with their everyday roles, are passionate about making positive changes to the mental health of young people and dedicate so much time to ensure that our Peer Supporters programme is embedded within their setting.”