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Youngsters present mental health ideas to NHS in Newham

Youngsters present mental health ideas to NHS in Newham
02 November 2017

Students from St Angela’s Ursuline School in Forest Gate had the opportunity to raise awareness of young people’s mental health issues when they presented to NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) last week. 

The Year 10 pupils talked about the impact that mental ill health can have on young people and why it is important to raise awareness of where to get help and support. They outlined the limited resources currently available as well as the steps needed to make improvements. 

A series of workshops are being held as part of the students’ work with Headstart, a project supported by Newham CCG to raise awareness of mental health issues. 

The group set out their hopes for the future, including at least two specially trained teachers in each school, peer mentoring, awareness raising in assemblies and other ideas such as a mental health newsletter written jointly with health professionals and a mental health checklist.

Newham CCG Chair Dr Prakash Chandra said: “The pupils gave a passionate and informed presentation to the board and it was really encouraging to see what an impact the HeadStart campaign has had on the school and its approach to dealing with mental health. 

“We know that talking about mental health problems can be difficult, which is why it is so important that young people feel they have the space to talk about mental health. We are committed to working with young people across Newham to reduce some of the stigma that still remains around mental illness and want to remind everyone that there is help available whenever they need it." 

Cherie Afonso, Chaplain and teacher of RE, Theology and Philosophy at the school said, "We are proud that our Year 10 girls have raised this important issue of mental health through their work with The East London Citizens Organisation (TELCO). I am confident that through their continued collaboration with the Newham CCG, this project will benefit many more young people in schools in Newham." 

Following the presentation, CCG board members agreed to work closely with the pupils and offered them the opportunity to contribute to the commissioning of children and adolescent mental health services. They also asked the pupils to feedback on the HeadStart programme and said GP board members are available to speak at school assemblies.

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