Academies leading the way for Mental Health Awareness Week

A number of OAT academies including Ormiston Forge Academy, Ormiston Denes Academy and City of Norwich School (CNS) have been busy marking Mental Health Awareness (MHA) week, from 8-12 May.

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Ormiston Forge Academy has planned a whole series of activities in recognition of MHA week, all designed to help raise awareness of mental health issues and provide students with information of what they can do to seek help and support.

The week kicked off with a session for students from Year 7 through to Year 10, which was delivered by the Academy’s Student Council. It focused on the pressures which can lead to mental health problems developing in young people, and the warning signs to look out for. The session also looked at what practical methods students can undertake to improve their day-to-day mental health.

The Academy has also designed a Google survey for students to help produce a bigger picture of what their worries might be and the sorts of sessions they would find useful to help them deal with different mental health issues.  

Green ribbons have also been sold to wear on the lapels of student uniform to show support for MHA, with all the proceeds received going to mental health charity, Mind. Students at the academy also put together a huge paper chain about what it is that makes them happy, with ideas put forward by a range of students across the school.

At Ormiston Denes Academy, MHA week was all about raising awareness of the excellent support and resources available at the academy, delivered by the highly experienced and effective pastoral team. Raising awareness included sharing links to important pages and support systems on the academy’s website, ensuring all students have access to support and top tips for taking care of themselves.

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At CNS, MAP - a charity for young people in Norfolk - has been on hand to offer counselling and advice from expert advisers on-site at the academy to students throughout the week.

OAT has been supporting academies across the Trust this week to use Mental Health Awareness week as a springboard to help tailor their approach towards mental health and provide greater support to students.

James Lowden, Assistant Principal: Development, Behaviour and Welfare, Designated Safeguarding Lead, Ormiston Denes Academy said:

"The welfare and development of our students is of paramount importance to us. To that end, we have developed a range of resources and expertise within our pastoral team to ensure our students are fully supported in order to secure best possible outcomes.

"We are incredibly fortunate to work with a range of external organisations to assist us with promoting mental health, challenging stigma and empowering us all to establish a culture of openness and support."

Andrew Burns, Principal of Ormiston Forge Academy, said:

"Through this exciting week of events we hope to raise awareness and start a real conversation about the importance of mental health issues. We want to encourage a culture where students feel they can be open and talk about any pressures or worries they may have.

"Promoting good mental health is a key priority for academies across the OAT network and we aim to be one of the academy’s leading the way on this in the West Midlands area."


Main photograph - Ormiston Forge Academy: (left-right) Lauren Bradley, 17, Richard Walker, 18, Erin Hartland, 12, Jesse Nyakudya, 13, Olivia Meese, 14 and Callum Beddoes, 15.