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Thursday 29th June 2017
24th July 2016
Congratulations to The Sixth Form College Farnborough in Hampshire ...
12th June 2016
Read The AcSEED Newsletter for June 2016.
25th March 2016
Congratulations to The Beacon PRU in Redditch, Worcestershire ...
25th March 2016
Congratulations to Lordswood Girls' School in Harborne, Birmingham ...
25th March 2016
Congratulations to Cedars Upper School in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire ...
Can you tell us about your experience of mental illness whilst at school?
My experience of mental ill health at school was very difficult. I felt like I could not cope and although the staff and school faculty were mostly supportive, the students were less than accommodating towards how ill I was.
What could the school have done to support you?
The school were very supportive, I cannot fault them for how they tried to help me. I was given a 'pass' to get out of lessons if I became overwhelmed, all my teachers were informed that I was unwell and I was put on a part time, reduced timetable. They held regular meetings with my parents and my psychiatry team and were very good at helping me when I had self-harmed. They called all of my close friends into a meeting to let them know I was struggling and were also supportive when they found it difficult to cope with my illness. I was given a separate room to get dressed in for PE, and was allowed to wear long sleeves so that other students did not see my self harm cuts and scars.
How did you want staff and teachers to treat and support you?
The school staff and teachers could not have done anything more to support me. They were all excellent.
How important is it for schools to raise awareness of mental illness and how can this be done?
I would say it is very important. Not just for schools to raise awareness of it, but for everyone to raise awareness of it. I had to move schools after being in a psychiatric hospital for a long time, this is because I felt judged and talked about negatively by a lot of the pupils at my original school.
What do you think a lesson on mental health should cover?
I think it needs to cover that there is no choice in the matter of mental illness. It is something that is very common and is not attention seeking, nor does it mean that the person suffering is 'mad'.
Also what needs to be covered is where pupils can go for support if they feel they are depressed/mentally unwell, as this could help prevent serious problems in the future such as extensive scarring from self harm, break down in relationships, eating disorders/problems, self esteem issues and also in horrific circumstances, suicide.
It needs to be raised that mental illness is just that, an illness, and I cannot emphasize that enough. Also, I think that schools should do more lessons on teambuilding amongst pupils, which would possibly help reduced 'clichés' and therefore reduce bullying, which can lead to mental illness. Also self esteem workshops would be a benefit to many pupils. No matter how confident or outgoing a teenager appears, they will always have things that concern and upset them, and if we were more happy with ourselves, then maybe we could all be more accepting of others.