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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 ...
When I get asked about the support services available at my school I'm never sure what to say. The truth of the matter is I became ill at the age of fourteen yet was never once offered any type of emotional support. However I tried very hard to disguise my harmful behaviours and put on a pretence joy to disguise my true depression. So can the school really be blamed for not support me on a problem they didn't know existed? Maybe not. But surly there must have been some indicators to the outside world that something wasn't quite right. I got the impression people knew I was struggling emotionally but due to the stigma and shame associated with mental health difficulties they chose to turn a blind eye with the hope that if they ignored the problem it would vanish of its own accord.
Although it could be argued that they didn't know I needed support, shouldn't all students have an awareness of who they can go to if they need to talk? It shouldn't be a case of waiting until a young person is mentally ill or in crisis before they get offered support. As with many others this wasn't the case with me and I suffered for three years in silence. By the time I hit seventeen I was severely depressed and suicidal. I feel let down by the lack of support I received whilst at school.
At Sixth Form College for the first time I had the option of visiting a counsellor. Whist I didn't know what was wrong with me something was not quite right so I made an appointment. Unfortunately due to the severity of my mental state the counsellor felt it appropriate to break confidentiality and inform my GP. At the time this made me furious. I consequently broke down in class and told my tutor everything that had been going on. It was more than I had told anyone before. My tutor was amazing, it couldn't have been easy for her but I couldn't have asked for anything more. I didn't expect her to have all the answers I just wanted someone to listen and she did exactly that. I will never be able to thank my tutor enough for what she did for me that day. I only wish I had spoken sooner. When I think back over my recovery journey I see that conversation as the starting point.
I believe all schools have a responsibility of care for their young people. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away. I believe a lot of teachers feel out of their depth when it comes to supporting students but with some simple training they could be of valuable support to many young people. School experiences can be difficult for many young people especially those with mental illness, but with the right training schools could be a place of support and safety.