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Schools address mental health through a student-led conference

image of summitTags Adults , Children , Family , Residents , Teenagers

Schools from Barking and Dagenham took part in a summit to mark World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10 October. 

This year's focus is on young people and mental health in a changing world. Mental ill health often starts in young adulthood. So, students from Jo Richardson and Eastbury Community Schools co-produced the Young People’s Wellbeing Summit that included an exciting programme of speakers and peer-led workshops.

The day centred around one main question: ‘What else can we do?’ The workshops looked to inform and inspire students and staff to discuss children and young people’s mental health.

Topics that the young people discussed on the day included mental health is everyone’s business; everyone is unique; what we don’t see and creating change. Other issues discussed were the outside world and its impact and peer support.

“This was an inspirational day.  I am proud of our young people who organised the event and led the workshops"

There were also two adult workshops for staff to talk about ‘Staff wellbeing’ and ‘Gangs and street culture’.

Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement said: “Mental health is more important now than ever before.  It is vital that people recognise the signs from a young age.

“This was an inspirational day.  I am proud of our young people who organised the event and led the workshops. All were encouraged to talk openly about issues that they may have concerns about: they shared experiences and learnt about where to ask for help.”

A number of community services also attended the Summit, including: NELFT, Carers of Barking and Dagenham, Green Shoe Arts, Spark2life, Barnardo’s, Community Links, Subwize, CAMHS and The Vibe Youth Centre.

Ges Smith, Headteacher for Jo Richardson School said: “We are very proud today to be hosting the Mental Health Summit at JRCS.  This event brought together students, staff and support services from across the whole borough enabling them to spend time looking at the very important issue of young people’s mental wellbeing.  One of the things that I am most proud about is the effort and commitment the students themselves have put in to making this event such a success.”

Around 120 students and 20 staff from secondary schools in the borough attended the free conference and they all wrote a pledge to take back to their schools to raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing.

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