Hard work sees Hitchin school host important conference on mental health today

Katie Southall

Katie Southall - Credit: Archant

Today sees a Hitchin school host an important conference on mental health ahead of National Mental Health Day on Monday.

The Priory School in Bedford Road is holding the event called Wellbeing and mental health–prevention and early intervention. The aim of the occasion is to give students and staff practical strategies and advice on how to promote positive mental health, and how to support those experiencing mental health difficulties.

The day will be split into workshops for pupils and teachers, as well as two keynote speeches form Steve Mallen, CEO of the MindEd Trust and Dr Hadi Shaker-Naeeni, a child psychiatrist.

There will also be a chance for everyone involved to network with the numerous agencies such as PHASE from Hitchin, School Nursing, Hope UK, Youth Scape and many more.

Sessions will include sessions on explaining about mental health, suicide prevention, counselling and strategies in combatting self-harm with PHASE. Among the student workshops will be teen yoga with Rachel Loo, five ways of wellbeing with Lucy Bailey, drama and art therapy with Jennifer Taylor and Naomi Russell.


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PHASE director Kieran Murphy will then deliver a speech called ‘Mental Health in Teens’ before a closing speech from the organiser and Priory School assistant head, Katie Southall.

Katie – who’s been working hard planning the conference since January told the Comet: “The mental health of young people is so important for their ability to succeed, but we also want them to look back on their time at school as a happy time and not one of misery blighted by poor mental health.

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“In doing this conference we’re hoping schools take away ideas and practical strategies to prevent poor mental health occurring and also feel equipped to intervene, should they need to. The theme of the day is ‘understand, implement, prevent’.

“We want schools to understand more about mental health and the services available. They can then implement the necessary frameworks to prevent poor mental health occurring.

“We’d also like to mention Rachel Lambie, who’s delivering a session but has also supported the organisation.

“Also Steve Mallen the CEO of MindEd and Jim MacManus, director of public health in Herts. David Brewer the head of engagement at the Lister has also been supporting us.

“Wilmott Dixon, LV and Hitchin Youth Trust have all supported us financially and enabled us to make the conference what it is – and Kieran Murphy from PHASE who has been a big support in making this happen.”

Kieran added: “We are positive about seeing mental health improve and this conference is one of the stepping stones to that goal. Prevention is better than cure.“

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