Blues Programme

The Blues programme, funded by Royal Mail, is an internationally acclaimed evidence based “blues busting” course for teenagers 13-19 which aims to reduce the signs of adolescent low mood and negative thoughts and promote prevention.

75% of adults with lifelong mental health issues first experience symptoms by 18. We work hard to make a positive impact on the mental health of children and young people in the UK.

This vital programme is run over six weeks and is being delivered in 37 schools across the UK. A massive 70% of pupils who have taken part so far showed an improvement in their mental health and emotional wellbeing, with a specific decrease in depression.1 Pupils also reported increased confidence and self-esteem, improved relationships and better engagement at school.



Blues busting

The six-week course involves weekly one-hour group sessions at school with home practice assignments. Weekly activity sessions build group rapport, cognitive restructuring techniques, followed by a range of coping strategies. 

Home practice assignments apply the skills learnt to daily life. It's simple and it works. 

Courses are run by a trained Action for Children 'Blues' specialist - we call them the 'blues busters'. Here's what's involved. 

  1. Eligible school, colleges or sixth forms sign up
  2. All students (13-19) complete the Blues survey
  3. Blues candidates are identified and sign up
  4. 6-week group course starts (1 hour/week)
  5. Results are evaluated and shared

"On average, every classroom in Britain has three children with a diagnosable mental health illness."

Blues handbook Cover_web

We aim to reach thousands of young people who are at risk of developing depression and other mental health issues, and make sure they get the help they need.

The Blues programme is being introduced at no cost. This is thanks to our partnership with Royal Mail, who will be providing £2million raised through the fundraising efforts of postmen and women across the UK and its matched giving scheme.

We have delivered the Blues programme at 37 schools across the UK and our ambition is to roll this out more widely across the UK.

Contact us today

1620 students benefitted from the Blues intervention from October 2017 - July 2018, with 420 pupils completing a questionnaire at the end of the programme to review its effectiveness.

Helping young people


Our impact

With 75% of adult mental health problems starting before someone is 18, we work hard to make a positive impact

Mental health for young people
Learning Disability Week

Mental health and disability

We support more than 14,000 disabled young people across the UK with a wide range of services.

Young people with disabilities

Our work with young people

We give children and young people the practical and emotional support they need to help them thrive.

Our work in the UK