Hitchin school supports mental health as it enters a positive phase

Priory school pupils at its mental health day

Priory school pupils at its mental health day - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin school has been praised for hosting a landmark mental health conference on Thursday which helped raise awareness ahead of Monday’s National Mental Health Day.

The Priory School in Bedford Road held Thursday’s event to promote wellbeing, mental health-prevention and early intervention, with the aim to give students and staff positive practical strategies on how to support those experiencing difficulties.

Kieran Murphy, director of Phase, said: “It was fantastic for Phase to be so involved with the first ever schools’ mental wellbeing conference in the UK. This landmark conference was to encourage and empower schools and young people to change the current state of mental wellbeing.

“Understand, implement, prevent were the aims we all wanted young people to take home with them.

“It was an honour for Phase to give the closing keynote session and to spread the message we can change this together.

“One young person said to me: ‘It was an amazing day, I want to help people – thanks to this I can now.’

“We’re so grateful for all the hard work and time given by so many, but especially want to thank Katie Southall, assistant head of the Priory who was the brain child behind this whole conference.”

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Priory School’s deputy head boy Jamie Dear added: “The day allowed many students and teachers to gain knowledge and understanding surrounding mental health.

“I think the day definitely helped reduce the stigma attached to it which is something we should be proud of as a school.

“Many teenagers do not feel able to speak to somebody about issues surrounding mental health because they do not have the necessary information and advice to help support them.

“Raising mental health, particularly within today’s youth is something we, as a community, need to start concentrating on. Students from our school even ran their own sessions focussing on the importance of wellbeing and how you can set up a wellbeing group within the school.

“The day also provided pupils with the chance to talk and learn from professionals about self-harm, suicide and general wellbeing.

“Thanks to Katie Southall and Kieran from Phase the day was a huge success – without their extraordinary commitment and dedication we wouldn’t have had such an amazing and inspirational day to kick start Mental Health and Wellbeing Week.”

The school also held a wellbeing fair as part of its contribution to Global Mental Health Day on Monday with representatives from the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, HealthWatch, The Samaritans, Phase and many others.

Visit www.phase-hitchin.org.

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