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Elvis is back in the building: black dog mental health campaign supports pupils suffering depression

Elvis the dogTags Children , Council , Family , Residents , Teenagers

A black, four-foot-tall fibreglass dog has been standing guard in the halls of a Barking and Dagenham school as part of a campaign to encourage pupils to discuss their mental health.

Elvis the dog returned to Eastbury Community School after going on a UK-wide tour, which saw the statue visit various public spaces, as well as schools and universities.

The campaign is the idea of mental health charity SANE, which places sculptures of black dogs around the country to raise awareness of mental health issues.

The black dog has long been a used as a metaphor for depression, featuring in classical mythology and medieval folklore.

Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement, said: “Depression doesn’t discriminate, and it is important that people – young and old – know that it is ok to not be ok and there is support out there that can help.

“We’re proud that our schools are playing their part in helping address stigma that surrounds discussing mental health issues, because the wider impact goes beyond just what happens inside the gates.”

The Hulse Avenue school has hosted Elvis since 2017. 

David Dickson, Executive Head teacher, at Eastbury Community School, said: “I am extremely proud of all of our students and staff who have done so much to increase understanding and support young people who are overcoming mental health issues. 

“Over one in ten children experience mental health issues. If we can address these early, we have a better chance of providing effective interventions.”

The sculpture will be part of the Pride Jubilee Parade on Saturday, 6 July.

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