MAYOR of Worcester Coun Jabba Riaz cut the ribbon to officially launch Bishop Perowne CE College’s new mental health service ‘Well Aware’.
Coun Riaz was joined by Bishop Perowne staff, governors and student Anti-Bullying Ambassadors who have been active in setting up the service.
During the launch, the Mayor talked about the importance of opening up and speaking to people when feeling low and how he wished this type of service had been available when he was younger.
Bishop Perowne student Laura Surridge also made a speech about what mental health is and fellow student Callie Geary gave a beautiful rendition of the song ‘Believe in Me’ by Demi Lovato.
Well Aware will be run by trained professionals and aims to plug the gap in the accessibility of mental health support for students and their families.
The discreet service will help students whose low mood, stress and anxiety are affecting their daily activities and support the school’s mission to change lives for the better by offering one-to-one mental health first aid, group well-being sessions, online self-help via Bishop Perowne’s website and student-led support run by Bishop Perowne’s Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.
Parent support groups and advice sessions and Mindfulness sessions are also on the menu as part of the unique project.
Nigel Ford, deputy headteacher at Bishop Perowne, who is responsible for pastoral care and has been instrumental in setting up the service, opened the launch event by highlighting the support students will be able to receive.
“There is a widespread agreement amongst education and health professionals that prevention and early intervention should be prioritised in addressing the health and well-being of children,” he said.
“This is particularly important for mental health as more than half of all mental health conditions are established before the age of 14.
“Well Aware will offer clinics for students and parents for whom anxiety and stress are affecting their daily activities, including their studies, and key Bishop Perowne staff have been trained as mental health first aiders.
“The launch of the programme represents phase one of our mental health strategy, with phase two centred around becoming an attachment aware school.
“This will see all staff trained to be inclusion experts and understand how to manage children who have suffered insecure attachments or trauma, have significant Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) or have had adverse childhood experiences,” he added.
The school is working closely with local NHS mental health services, such as the child and adolescent mental health service and Reach4Wellbeing, and will also refer students to professionally-qualified counsellors and the school nurse.