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The importance of extra-curricular activities for Mental health

Young people today experience a constant barrage of imagery and tales of impossible perfection from social media. Coping with these unrealistic expectations can often be challenging and, sadly, this can sometimes lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

The importance of schools is helping students develop the skills and resilience to deal with the world around them cannot be overstated, and extra-curricular activities can be a key tool in any school’s armoury.

There is now a growing body of research that is telling us that being ‘active’ and participating in co-curricular activities drastically reduces the probability of mental health issues.  Co-curricular activities provide opportunities for community involvement, as well as a platform for developing mental resilience. So what are some of the benefits to our students?

Self-esteem - One of the greatest benefits of extra-curricular activities is that they offer a chance to master skills in a fun and relaxed environment. When we succeed, we feel good about ourselves.

Mental resilience - One of the features of mastering a new skill is that we will sometimes fail. Extra-curricular activities can provide us with an opportunity to learn how to quickly bounce back from failure.

New skills - Extra-curricular activities expose pupils to new skills and help them to expand their view of the world. They can promote practice, discipline, organisation, and teamwork - all skills that will prove very useful through school and beyond.

Social skills - Making friends isn’t easy for everyone, especially at school, but by taking part in activities with other pupils with the same interests, it makes it easier for friendships to form.

Academic performance - As well as the elements listed above, activities beyond the classroom also help students to engage better with the school experience, which always helps to improve their academic performance.

Traditionally a lot of extracurricular activities have often had a “PE focus”, but there also need to be options for those children who are less interested in sport. It is important to offer a wide range of activities, but also not to overdo it! 

If you would like top tips on organising and planning your extracurricular activities be sure to download our eBook: Getting the most out of your extra-curricular programme

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