SFG College students recognise mental health just as important as physical health

CHILDREN have been taught how to recognise when they are struggling with poor mental health.

Time to Talk Day was an opportunity for Sir Frederick Gibberd College, in Harlow, to tackle the subject with its students.

Workshops were held during the week to help students to identify when they are suffering, how to seek help and how to support others.

Students also took part in an Inside Out Day, where they were challenged to wear part of their uniform in the wrong way to demonstrate their feelings on the inside are not always reflected on the outside.

Assistant headteacher Cheree Leverington said: “Mental health is just as important as physical health, so we want our young people to be aware of how they are feeling. In the same way we can get physically ill, we can get mentally ill. However, there is a stigma attached to mental health and often people do not know how to deal with it and so it gets brushed to one side and not dealt with.

“You would not say to a child with a broken leg ‘just walk it off, you will be fine’. So, you should not tell a child who is feeling distressed or overwhelmed or showing signs of depression to cheer up and they will be fine.

“Some negative feelings are natural; anxiety is a normal part of life, to a certain extent. They are growing up and puberty is kicking in. But, some of these feelings can be a sign of ill mental health and it’s vital our children recognise the difference and know how to seek help.”

Mrs Leverington, who ran workshops with students and staff, said: “Just because someone looks fine, does not mean they feel fine on the inside and it is important for our students to understand this and come to us when they are not feeling ok.”

Mrs Leverington has also presented to parents about mental health, explaining its importance, how to recognise signs and where to go for help.

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