Herts schools take on #JustTalk campaign against mental health

Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health Jim McManus promoting the #JustTalk campaig

Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health Jim McManus promoting the #JustTalk campaign. Picture: Herts county council - Credit: Archant

Schools in Letchworth and Hitchin have taken part in a #JustTalk campaign week, with the aim to encourage young people to have conversations about mental health.

St Albans schools are taking part in Hertfordshire County Council's #JustTalk campaign. Picture: Her

St Albans schools are taking part in Hertfordshire County Council's #JustTalk campaign. Picture: Herts county council - Credit: Archant

More than 70 primary and secondary schools across the county - including St Francis College in Letchworth and The Priory School in Hitchin - took part in various activities last week as part of Herts County Council's award-winning initiative.

Activities included assemblies and PE and art lessons themed around mental health.

The campaign - which has been co-designed with young people - aims to encourage them to learn how to look after their mental health, and to open up and talk about things that are worrying them before they escalate.

Young people in Hertfordshire said that exams and tests are their number one worry, so they chose this topic as the theme for the council's annual short film competition.

Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health Jim McManus promoting the #JustTalk campaig

Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health Jim McManus promoting the #JustTalk campaign. Picture: Herts county council - Credit: Archant


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Students were invited to come up with a storyboard idea on 'how to cope with exam pressure' with the aim of helping their peers manage stress as the mock exam season approaches. Winners will get to work with a professional filmmaker to turn their idea into a short film and receive £100 in vouchers.

Competition entry details are available at www.justtalkherts.org.

A free #JustTalk toolkit is also available online to help schools and colleges run activities throughout the week and share the key campaign messages: 'It's 'OK not to be OK' and 'Talking shows strength'.

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Herts County Council's director of public health, Jim McManus, said: "Schools are important partners in our award-winning Just Talk campaign, actively encouraging children and young people to feel comfortable talking about their mental health and letting them know that it's fine to reach out for support if they are struggling to cope.

Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health Jim McManus promoting the #JustTalk campaig

Hertfordshire County Council's director of public health Jim McManus promoting the #JustTalk campaign. Picture: Herts county council - Credit: Archant

"The earlier that young people raise any worries that they may have, whether it's exam stress or relationships with their peers, the earlier something can be done to help."

For more information about the campaign and free copies of the toolkit,visit www.justtalkherts.org.

Join the conversation using the hashtag #JustTalk.

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