Pupils champion new mental health campaign

Published Tuesday, 10th October 2017
Pupils champion new mental health campaign
Safia Ajaib and Will Monteiro, head boy and the head girl at Oakwood High School launch the Rotherham STILL Campaign and they are mental health champions as are all the children behind them.

Pupils across Rotherham wore yellow today to show other young people that they’re not alone when it comes to their mental health as part of a new campaign launch.

Research shows three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition, and over 80,000 young people are severely depressed nationally.

And recently it was revealed that a quarter of girls and nearly one in 10 boys show signs of depression at the age of 14 across the UK.

To help combat this, and to mark World Mental Health Day today, Rotherham Council and NHS partners launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of young people’s mental health.

Called STILL (Stop Think, take Interest, Listen and live Life), the campaign which was developed with young people, asks youngsters to take time to think about their mental health and that of their peers.

Alongside this pupils across Rotherham wore yellow as part of the #HelloYellow campaign run by Young Minds charity, which champions the well-being and mental health of young people across the country. Many also stayed ‘still’ for a minute at 9.15am to encourage pupils to think about mental health and in one school pupils have become mental health “champions” to help encourage young people to talk about how they are feeling.

Cllr David Roche, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health said: “Mental health issues like depression are usually associated with adults, but research clearly shows that young people also suffer with such anxieties and we need to listen to what the research is telling us.

“That is why we want to encourage young people to take care of their mental health and our campaign will promote positive ways to do this by challenging the stigma which surrounds mental health and getting people to talk and seek help when they need it.”

The campaign is being rolled out across all schools from Year 6 upwards with resources like pocket reminder cards to help children and young people to think about themselves and each other.

At Oakwood High School on Moorgate, Rotherham, they have identified mental health champions as part of the awareness raising campaign.

Headteacher David Naisbitt said: “We take our pupils wellbeing extremely seriously. Mental health issues can stop pupils being able to reach their potential so ignoring it is not an option.

“That is why we have identified pupils as mental health champions. Their role is to be available for other young people to turn to when they need someone to confide in.

“Often children tell each other things they wouldn’t tell an adult, which can be for a number of reasons. So we want to give them every opportunity to get help if they need it.”

As part of the day of events, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) took the RDaSH Health Bus along to several schools in Rotherham to help raise awareness of mental health.

Rotherham CAMHS Team Manager Anders Cox said: “There may be many reasons why we are seeing a rise in mental health issues in young people including exam stress, worries about body image and bullying.

“But this could also be down to people being more willing to talk about mental health issues now, which may be a result of high profile celebrities like the Royals raising awareness.

“We need to continue this move towards more openness by breaking down young people’s attitudes to speaking about mental health issues and increasing their understanding of them.”

Visit the My Mind Matters website