Blog post -
Mental Health Awareness Week: Mini Mermaid
There is no shortage of evidence to the fact that physical activity can have a hugely positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of adults and children.
Improved mood and a decreased chance of depression and anxiety are just two of the mental benefits that being physically active can bring to Londoners.
Throughout the past 12 months, with the covid-19 pandemic, multiple lockdowns and serious disruption to their schooling, the mental health of young people has been particularly affected.
In January, charity Young Minds found that 67% of young people believed that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health.
So, for Mental Health Awareness Week, London Sport are looking at community physical activity and sport organisations that focus on supporting mental wellbeing as well as physical health.
Mini Mermaids is one of several organisations that London Sport fund to support young girls (years 3-6) with their overall wellbeing through movement and mindfulness.
Their focus is on helping girls discover and preserve their self-esteem, self-worth and self-compassion. The club was a runner-up at the London Sport Awards 2020 in the Children and Young People category and featured in London Sport’s We Are Not Spectators campaign in the Spring of 2020.
Mini Mermaid sessions build confidence and resilience through a combination of physical activity and constructive, educational group tasks.
Through games, discussions, journaling, active lessons and a final 5km challenge, girls identify their two inner voices - Mini Mermaid, their inner cheerleader and Siren, their inner critic - and learn how to understand, differentiate and respond with a goal of channelling their Mini Mermaid voice.
The curriculum show girls how being physically active can positively impact them across so many aspects of their lives - physically, emotionally and mentally.
What They Say - Hannah Corne, CEO
“When girls go through our programmes, they feel more confident, they feel more resilient, and they’re able to deal better with all the emotions and feelings that are going on in their heads.”
Hazel Rowe, mum of Maise-Ann (pictured), said:
“Since completing three 5K challenges with Mini Mermaids, Maisie-Ann has overcome some of her fears and is more able to deal with her frustrations and anger by using the tools that she has learnt.
“During the last year she had to undertake her year 6 mock SATs at school and she was initially worried about this, but says that even though the siren was telling her she cannot do it, she listened to the Mini Mermaids who told her to never to give up and just keep going, which made her feel better about doing them and not be negative.
“I can honestly say that her mental health has improved as she is more stable and confident to go out and do things on her own without the need of me, her auntie or nanny - which brings me joy, especially with her starting secondary school in September.”
Cheska Tyler, Headteacher at Cherry Tree, Watford, said:
“This is a great programme which leads sessions for children after school over the course of a few weeks covering technique, nutrition, mental strength and results in the children completing a 5K Parkrun. I've seen such a change in the children that have completed it.”
Fatima Mangera, mother to Sara who took part in ‘Mini Mermaids at Home’ during lockdown, said:
“Sara would really look forward to Mini Mermaid at Home sessions and really enjoyed the conversations and activities which took place.
“The girls are beginning to experience adolescence so the timing for Sara was perfect, in terms of building her self-confidence and thinking about coping mechanisms for life long emotional challenges.
“I like that they really took the time to listen to the girls.”