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Mental health: Leventhorpe School in Sawbridgeworth holds week to raise awareness and funds for charity

Leventhorpe staff are aiming to ensure there is an “open-door policy on wellbeing” after a mental health awareness week was held at the Sawbridgeworth school.

The secondary in Cambridge Road decided to stage the week to make up for one missed in May with the aims to “raise awareness, to offer extra support and to help to normalise mental health and the feelings that often come with it”.

It was felt the need was crucial with mental health issues rising as a result of Covid-19.

Student welfare officer Lucie Biggs said: “At Leventhorpe, we recognise how important it is to be open about mental health.

“There’s so much conversation around this topic currently, which is great, but we don’t want this to just be a buzzword.

“We wanted to actually alter how people perceive wellbeing, help to educate people on it, normalise feelings and create a whole-school approach to this.”

Lucie added: “As the student welfare officer at Leventhorpe, I feel that the wellbeing of students and staff is incredibly important, but it’s everyone’s job to make this a culture that we live and work by.

“That’s what Mental Health Awareness Week was all about for us – including everyone, sharing experiences and trying to ensure an open-door policy on wellbeing.”

Students were encouraged to wear something green with their uniform and to buy green Leventhorpe Mental Health Awareness Week wristbands to raise money for counselling and therapeutic support charity YCT.

The charity, based in different parts of Hertfordshire and in Harlow, supports children, young people and their families when they are struggling with something or need to talk to someone. Funding mostly comes through charities such as Children In Need, so the school was keen to support such a vital service.

As part of the awareness week, all 1,400 students were given the School Yellow Book, which is a wellbeing resource piloted by Leventhorpe.

Deputy headteacher Alex Francis said: “We’ve been talking to students about mental health and how we deal with challenges.”

Staff sent videos of what happens when they feel stressed and what they do to feel better, which made students realise that even the people who stand in front of them can suffer from mental health issues.

The awareness week raised £1,468.85 for YCT, which the school heralded as an “amazing result”.

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