Last week the Head Girl Team organised Mental Health Awareness week at school in order to raise awareness of mental health and well-being, but also how to help yourself or others who may be experiencing a mental illness. We felt this was an extremely important topic as mental health is a prominent issue in our society as it is claimed approximately 25% of the population will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives showing it can affect a huge amount of people .
On Monday, we distributed out compliment hearts to every student in the school, where everyone stuck a colourful paper heart on their locker and throughout the week anyone could write nice compliments about each other on them. We felt this was a brilliant way to spread some positivity and kindness around the school and,simultaneously, it brightened up the lockers!
On Wednesday, we had the privilege of listening to Charly Lester, one of the school governors and a former Kendrick girl, describe her personal experience of mental illness within her family. It was an incredibly interesting and informative talk, but it also illustrated the impact mental illness has not only on the person experiencing it, but on others surrounding them as well.
To help raise awareness of some key mental illnesses on Thursday and Friday, we gave assemblies to the Lower School and to the Sixth Form in which we briefly covered the signs and symptoms of people suffering with the most common mental illness (e.g. depression and anxiety), and we also gave advice on how to help yourself or a friend who is suffering. We hoped that from this assembly everybody would be more aware of people around them who are suffering from a mental illness, and that if they have a friend or family member who is affected, the best thing to do is listen.
On Friday, we held a mass relaxation session in the hall that any student or member of staff could attend, as everyone needs a relaxing activity at the end of a long week! We showed the film, ‘Kung Fu Panda’, on the projector and encouraged everyone to bring a cushion or a blanket, as well as providing colouring pencils and printed designs to colour in if people wished. Also, Shefali, our pastoral prefect, showed us how to make stress balls out of balloons and cornflour, and many people joined her to make their own stress ball, which they can squeeze in stressful times!
Throughout the week we also sold badges designed by Clara Fidler-Brown, a Year 13 student, which said “I’m a safe space” to remind people that their friends and teachers are “safe spaces” to discuss their emotions with. We wanted to spread the message that the best thing anyone can do when they are stressed or upset is to share how they feel with someone they trust, and also if you have a friend who is suffering with a mental illness, listen to them compassionately and non-judgmentally. All the money from selling the badges is going to the mental health charity, ‘Mind’.