Since our Future in Mind launch day on World Mental Health Day (10th October 2016) we have aimed to showcase the excellent work which is being carried out by so many to promote positive mental health and reduce the stigma attached to Mental Health illnesses, and to signpost to all young people across the region how they can access the support being offered.
We identified that, formerly, mental health support in schools mainly focused on providing support for children with existing mental illness, rather than providing general mental health education for all students. This is particularly important at secondary school age since it is estimated that 50% of lifetime mental illness first presents itself by the age of 14. With this in
mind, the Government introduced the ‘Future in Mind’ initiative and Culcheth High School volunteered to be the commissioning high school in Warrington.
We have been working closely with Warrington Borough Council, Warrington NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and Warrington CAMHS (and other agencies) to develop and implement an (extremely detailed) ‘emotional health and wellbeing transformation plan’ that outlined how we would deliver on the recommendations made in the national guidance between 2015 and 2020.
The work and training (e.g. staff receiving Mental Health First Aid training, students becoming ‘Youth Health Champions’, bespoke Lesson Plans, Assemblies and Awareness Events aimed at ‘prevention rather than cure’ being created and delivered, developing studentled networks, etc. ) carried out this year has been shared as ‘good practice’ with all the other secondary schools (and eventually primary schools) in Warrington over the coming years, and we have subsequently created a Mental Health Pledge, which the majority of Warrington secondary schools have signed up to.
The Future in Mind initiative will be embedded as a ‘whole school’ approach over the next few years, and we hope that this will ensure that our young people continue to thrive and develop to ‘be the best that they can be’. Watch this space!