South Tyneside pupils tackle mental health in school

Staff and students at a South Tyneside school got to grips with mental health during a week-long initiative.

Saturday, 19th November 2016, 11:02 am
Updated Monday, 21st November 2016, 12:28 pm
Mortimer Community College staff supporting the Light Up Purple on World Mental Health Day initiative.

Mortimer Community College in South Shields, has been working throughout the year to highlight the importance of mental health in school.

Last month it decided to raise the profile of the issue even further - by engaging pupils in a week-long programme for Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mortimer Community College pupils learning about mental health.

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As part of the week, pupils wore the colour purple in support of the Light Up Purple on World Mental Health Day project - which is part of the Amanda Todd legacy, a society which urges organisations across the world to highlight mental health issues through the use of the colour.

The school was also decked-out in purple bunting and pupils collected donations for the mental health charity.

Leah Collinson, a safeguarding officer and emotional health and wellbeing coordinator at the school, said: “One in four people will have a mental health problem in any year and sometimes it is the little things that we do that make the big difference.

“The week went really well and our work on mental health is something we will continue to do throughout the year.

Mortimer Community College pupils learning about mental health.

“In school we have around six members of staff who act as mental health champions andcan signpost students to support facilities, or lend a listening ear.”

As part of the Healthy Schools programme, Mortimer are working closely with Christina Hardy, a local authority health schools practitionner, to improve knowledge of mental health issues for all members of the school community.

This has included being part of the South Tyneside Mental Health Champions network, working with The Samaritans to highlight their service to students, and inviting guest speaker Dick Moore from the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust to speak to staff.

During the event, the school had an information point in place for people to pick up leaflets and contact numbers for organisations which may be able to help.

Workshops and assemblies also continue to be held on the subject to encourage everyone to talk openly about mental health.

Ms Collinson added: “The school are also looking at how they can incorporate mental health into tutorial sessions to encourage young people to recognise mental health issues and seek out appropriate support.”