WITH a rising tide of exam pressure and social expectations young people are facing more stresses and strains than ever before.

But Oxford man Roy Peach is on a mission to improve the mental health of youngsters in the county with relaxation classes.

The 29-year-old, from Marston, started working as a coach for Relax Kids last year after his own battle with generalised anxiety disorder.

Now he teaches relaxation skills to youngsters and adults.

Relax Kids offers children a chance to chill out and relax, with sessions teaching them relaxation techniques and tools to them cope whilst building their confidence.

Mr Peach said: "Mental health is something that is finally getting the media coverage it deserves but so much more could and should be done.

"I was fortunate that my treatment was successful, but not everybody is able to access the support they need.

"Relax Kids not only allows children and young people to learn and develop the skills they need to help restore the balance in this frantic world, but it is accessible to all."

Classes include stretching, breathing techniques, massage, positive self-talk and visualisation exercises brought together in a fun package for children of all ages.

They aim to ensure that children learn the techniques from a young age in order to help them manage their feelings better as the years go by.

Mr Peach said: "I’m a qualified youth worker and have worked with children and within education for more than a decade.

"I understand the pressures that children are going through, and in some ways I’m lucky to have had first-hand experience of anxiety, as it allows me to appreciate what many young people are experiencing.

"Some children that attend Relax Kids classes also do not have male figures in their lives and it makes me proud that I can be a calming influence to fill the void."

A recent study by the charity Young Minds showed that one in 10 children now suffers from mental health problems including stress, anxiety and depression.

Relax Kids believes relaxation and mindfulness can help counteract the effects of stress and anxiety.

Relax Kids founder Marneta Viegas said: "'Teaching children to be still and relax is vital for their mental and emotional well being.

"TV, Playstations, noise pollution, and fast food all contribute to the over-stimulation and therefore stress and hyperactivity in children.

"We need to do something fast. Relaxation is the key."

To find out more email relaxkidsroy@gmail.com or visit www.relaxkidsroy.wordpress.com