Palace's Team Mates helping schoolchildren

17 May 2019

Find out how the Palace For Life Foundation programme is having a positive impact on young people

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With children's mental health increasingly in the news, the Palace For Life Foundation has for the last few years been supporting young people in the classroom through its Team Mates project.

The statistics are alarming. Mental health problems affect about one in 10 children and young people while 70 per cent of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

Palace have been attempting to address this with the Team Mates programme, which encourages children to talk about their feelings and develop their emotional resilience through a series of activities and games.

An inclusion manager from a local school has described the impact Team Mates, which is supported by Premier League Primary Stars and works in 12 schools, has made on one pupil.

Anger control

"Before he started with Team Mates he had a real issue out in the playground controlling his anger. Triggers were losing at football, which would often end in disagreements, arguments and physical fights.

"Since Team Mates, this has dramatically dropped and he is coping better and learning to resolve conflict on his own. His mum has also commented on his behaviour at home, he argues a lot less with his mum and siblings now."

The figures also back that up with a 42 per cent decrease in internal and external exclusions relating to serious behaviour incidents being reported in schools using Team Mates.

To see what the programme is all about, Crystal Palace players Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Pape Souare, Nikita Whinnett, Megen Lynch and Lauren-Aime Alle visited Raglan Primary School in Bromley and joined in with a Team Mates session.

"I enjoyed it," said Wan-Bissaka. "I think it's good for the kids, staff and players to interact and to open up."

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