Pupils to champion good mental health

Helping to raise awareness amongst young people
Helping to raise awareness amongst young people

Students at school near Mansfield have become “mental health champions” and will work to raise awareness of issues including depression and anxiety among classmates.

The 10 students were appointed at Shirebrook Academy after a suicide awareness campaign and will assist two members of staff, who were given training as part of a national scheme to combat mental health issues.

Abi Grocutt, safeguarding officer at the Common Lane academy, said: “After we were appointed, we were approached by students who wanted to help us increase the awareness of mental health issues and so we decided to enlist their help.

“I am aware of how big a concern our students’ mental health is, so we welcome anything which helps us make the mental health first aid service a success.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to ensure every school had at least one member of staff trained to deal with children’s mental health.

A survey by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers found 98 per cent of teaching staff had come into contact with a student suffering from mental health problems, but only 46 per cent had been given formal training to deal with it.

The school was one of the first in the country to train staff to support student’s mental health under the scheme.

Ms Grocutt said: “The students helped us with our suicide awareness day and they are now thinking up other ways they in which we can get the message out.”

According to the Mental Health Foundation 50 per cent of all mental health problems begin before the age of 14, and 75 per cent by the age of 24.

The scheme has so far trained more than 200,000 people.