A NEW initiative has been launched to help people with their mental health and wellbeing.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has secured £71,000 from the Skills Funding Agency to provide learning opportunities to those who suffer from mild to moderate mental health problems.

The council will work in partnership with the local voluntary and community sector to co-deliver the pilot scheme across the borough.

Launching in September, the scheme offers adults, 19 and over, courses for people who have mild to moderate mental health problems.

The aim of the Ways to Wellbeing scheme is to support adults with anxiety, depression and sleep disorders back into learning through effective activities such as art classes, healthy lifestyles, and small animal care.

The council is working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland Mind, Coast and Country Housing, The Junction, Carers Together Redcar, South Tees Prescribing Board and Tees Valley Rural Community Councils’ Community Agents on the campaign.

Veronica Harnett, chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Mind, said: "Many of our clients find it difficult to access courses that will improve their wellbeing. When you are feeling depressed or anxious it's hard to even think about trying something new without someone to give you support.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for us to use our expertise as a partnership to develop something innovative that makes a real difference in helping people feel better about themselves whilst learning new skills along the way."

At any one time it is estimated that 1 in 4 people in Redcar and Cleveland are suffering from a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression.

Cllr Lynn Pallister, the council's cabinet member for health and housing, said: “With evidence suggesting that educational approaches can benefit people experiencing these mental health problems, we are pleased that this initiative will be delivered to those who need it the most in our borough.

“By tackling anxiety, depression and sleep disorders, the residents of this borough who suffer from such conditions can hopefully go on to lead healthier, and therefore happier lives.”

The courses will be delivered in venues across the borough. For more information about the project contact Gemma Fisher or Maria Kingham on 01642-771197.