Teenagers in Ottery impress MP with ‘groundbreaking work’ to raise awareness of mental health
- Credit: Archant
Hugo Swire praised students for their ‘passionate determination’ to address important issues
Creative students from The King’s School won praise from East Devon’s MP for their ‘groundbreaking’ work to raise awareness of mental health.
Hugo Swire commended members of the Teen Health Group for bringing to the fore what he said is a ‘big issue’ and addressing matters that affect young people at home as well as school.
The Conservative MP visited the school to see some of the work being carried out by students, in particular on mental health, which has already landed them a grant and film commission.
Head of PSHE and Citizenship, Jo Elliot, said: “We wanted to show the brilliant work done by the group that goes on day in, day out.
“I think what we have here is ground-breaking. The students are making a film on depression and mental illness - they are changing the world.
“Devon Health Watch commissioned us to make the film. Representatives came to see the work the Teen Health Group do and then said ‘can you make a radio program’.
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“They were so blown away by what we did they said could we make a film.
“I asked the students what they wanted to do and they said these are the things that we do not think are tackled from a young person’s point of view.”
Filming started on Wednesday and the finished product will have four instalments - studying different aspects of mental health.
Ollie Wellesley – a Teen Health Group member – said: “The film will be used to raise awareness and also to help people cope with issues like depression.”
He explained the decision had been made to feature Winnie the Pooh because students had found out there were strong links to depression in the popular books by AA Milne.
Plum Griffiths wrote and performed a song for the MP, students and teachers.
Mr Swire said: “Well done, all of you – it’s a big issue and I think it’s really important.”
Speaking afterwards, he added: “It is distressing at any age to experience problems such as anxiety, but it is particularly traumatic for young people. It’s therefore fantastic to see that the pupils at King’s are so passionate about raising awareness of these issues and determined to help each other overcome emotional problems.”
King’s was successful in securing a Character Education Grant, which has helped make a lot of these initiative possible, and the school works in partnership with five other establishments.