Over the past two years our school council have discussed and tackled multiple issues. But, more recently our focal point has definitely been on improving our resources to tackle mental health as a school as well as improving the awareness of mental health in the school. We have also spent a large amount of time pushing to have various sites of the school improved, especially the infrastructure.
Recently years 10-12 have had the opportunity to work with Newport Mind in a series of training sessions to qualify as ‘mental health peer mentors’. At this point in time we are pushing to implement our ideas into the school society as soon as possible due to mental health being a growing epidemic that isn’t being challenged enough in school environments, even though, mental health in youths/adolescents is at its peak today. We are proposing our school to set up a ‘drop in’ that will be run by the trained ‘mental health peer mentors’ at break, lunch and form time.
This idea came about because students tend to find it harder to open up and talk to teachers or support workers. Furthermore, the referral system sometimes entails a long waiting period, which does waste crucial time in terms of the pupil’s mental health. Identifying issues and problem in earlier stages tends to prevent major mental health deficits in the near future. However, we have made major progress over the past year; last year a group of students alongside the school council set up and ran a ‘mental health committee’ in which we organised events to begin combatting mental health and raise awareness in school.We organised visitors and also even had pupils come forward and talk to the individual year groups about their experience with mental health. We believe this really opened the eyes of many as they saw that an average person walking down the street, a celebrity and even those among us do suffer or have suffered with their mental health.
Furthermore, a re-occurring topic within our school council meetings are the improvements we would like to make to our school buildings. As a student body we believe that better buildings do motivate pupils to work harder in school. Small changes can make a big a difference. Little things such as, cleaner toilets, painted walls and new carpets gives the school a fresh look and are small steps to big changes. We do believe that gradual small changes will definitely improve the outlook pupils will have about coming to school and working hard.