17 May Mental Health Awareness Week
13th – 19th May
This week was Mental Health Awareness Week, and with the onset of SATs, GCSEs and A-Levels at schools across the country, this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week has seen an especial focus on the mental wellbeing of both teachers and students.
In February for Time to Talk Week, Ms Quail, Mr Kilminster and I ran an assembly alongside Kieran and Ebony in the Sixth Form. In a short video, we modelled the important act of talking about mental health by exploring and sharing our own experiences with a range of issues. These included depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive thinking.
Some of us spoke about good friends or loved ones, while others among us – myself included – made the decision to share our own deeply personal mental health journeys with the 1,600-strong school community for the first time.
The assembly caught the interest of BBC Teach, who dispatched a film crew to the school a few days later to interview me and film a question-and-answer session that I hosted with 9D.
9D not only demonstrated sensitivity, tolerance and a complete lack of judgement but also asked some fantastic questions. These allowed us to have a great dialogue on the topic of mental health and how it can affect us all when not cared for.
The video debuted on Tuesday, just in time for Mental Health Awareness Week, and can be watched at https://www.bbc.com/teach/teacher-support
My hopes that this process would encourage staff and students alike to speak more openly about their mental health have been far exceeded. It has been wonderful to receive all manner of anecdotes and feedback from across the school community that speak of people finding both a voice to express themselves with and willing ears to listen. As I wrote back in February, quite often that is all someone with a mental health concern is looking for.
It is that culture of acceptance, openness and support that we are very fortunate to have here at Jo Richardson and that is a big part in ensuring ‘Success for All’. I hope that the work we have done and will continue to do concerning mental wellbeing inspires staff and students to keep talking and listening to one another. As we’ve discovered, it is an issue that affects us all!
English & Media Department