The Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School PTFA, based in Ashbourne, was awarded £ 1,500 back in April to fund mental health support talks for all 1,500 pupils at the school.
50% of mental health problems are established by age 14
1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder.
Every year group at the school was given an assembly, focusing on ‘Body Image’ for Years 7-9 and ‘Stress’ for Years 10-13. These student sessions were augmented by a parent talk to offer guidance and support from a parental / at home perspective.
Students were shown how to be more aware of what they are being subconsciously exposed to through advertising in the ‘Body Image’ class and given the challenge to compliment others according to what we value about people (kindness, a sense of humour, or loyalty, for example) rather than aesthetics.
In the ‘Stress’ session, students discovered whether they have a natural ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response to pressure and were given strategies for managing it. All students were encouraged to communicate about how they are feeling, whether that is with a friend, relative, teacher or mental health professional. This is especially vital when we consider that suicide is the highest cause of death for young men.
QEG‘s teacher, Miss Angris, who had led this vital work, was inundated with positive feedback from parents who had attended, with one parent emailing to say,
I came last week and wanted to feedback what a great experience it was. Having gone through the experience of having to help my elder son with bullying and the subsequent esteem issues that went with it, I am so pleased that the school are taking these initiatives, When I talked with both my boys about the sessions they had attended both thought they were really good and we are already discussing implementing some of the strategies presented for the impending year 11!.
QEGS is truly thankful to Foundation Derbyshire and the John Weston Fund.