Ottery school children call for help to improve mental health
Pupils at The King’s School are looking to help Ottery’s community ‘live life to the full’ and called on leading figures to help them to improve mental health within the town.
Mental health ambassador Ollie Brown spoke at Ottery Town Council about the school’s work and asked members to help spread their positive message.
Year 13 student Ollie said: “Teenagers are the group that struggle the most with mental health problems.
“Our job within a secondary school is to make sure people feel as comfortable and as healthy as possible.
“We want to get outside of King’s and into the wider community because in terms of mental health, Devon is one of the worst for isolation because you have people living here, there and everywhere.”
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He highlighted successful projects like Headlight, which runs peer-support sessions at The Station for young people experiencing emotional distress, but added work still needed to be done as many are still struggling to receive help or diagnosis.
Ollie said: “We want to stop it before it gets to that point. It is well and good trying to fix things once things have gone wrong but it’s better to stop things from going wrong in the first place.
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“As the town council, you have a lot of respect and power within the town to try and help push for positive messages within the wider community.”
Head of PSHE Jo Elliott said students have worked with a number of psychologists and benefited from regular discussions and resources such as cards in their planners to help them if they felt negative.
She said: “It’s not just something that is done as a one- off, once a year, it permeates every vein in the King’s School.
“It’s something that we drip feed throughout the year, lots of different posters about how to stay positive and live your life to the full.”
Town councillors praised Ollie on his presentation and praised his and the school’s work.
Headteacher Rob Gammon said: “As a school, we are mindful of the many pressures that young people face as they are growing up. Our curriculum reflects the importance that we place on students’ personal development, as well as academic outcomes.
“I am delighted that we have a staff and student body that embraces the need to talk openly about these issues and is committed to helping young people develop the skills and resilience to cope with all that life will throw at them.”