Young people from schools, faith and community groups across North East Wales have created a resource and award for secondary schools to improve mental wellbeing in their school communities.
Young leaders from TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru/Together Creating Communities) met with Karen Evans, Chief Officer for Education & Early Intervention at Wrexham County Borough Council, who supported the Healthy Minds Haven resource and award and agreed to encourage local schools to use it.
TCC brings together local groups so they can take action on issues and improve their communities. TCC’s Youth in Action group, with support and training from the charity, explores issues affecting young people and their communities.
The group has been campaigning to improve mental health support in schools across North Wales because they passionately believe that school plays a vital role in supporting students, given half of lifetime mental health problems start by the age of 14.
In a survey carried out by TCC leaders from Hawarden High School, 92% of the school community felt more should be done to support young people around mental health. Healthy Minds Haven is unique as it has been designed by young people who are experts by experience, as a resource and checklist of practical things schools can do to improve mental health support for their students.
Schools can work towards achieving the Healthy Minds Haven Award by completing all of the actions if they wish, or they can use the checklist as a resource and still benefit from time invested in creating a learning community that feels positive and confident around the subject of mental health.
In January the young leaders held an online meeting with Karen Evans, gaining her support for the campaign and commitment to sharing the Healthy Minds Haven resource with schools in the area.
The Chief Officer also agreed to share the toolkit with local authority counterparts in Flintshire and Denbighshire County Councils and to take forward a request for the resource to be added to the Hwb resource platform for schools in North Wales.
Secondary schools are invited to sign up and show their commitment to improving mental health. The group chose to focus on schools as the environment that most young people spend time in, and where the issue of mental health difficulties seems to be on the rise.
Schools will benefit and learn from lived experience of school pupils in their area. A 2020 Barnardo’s report said 85% of school staff worried that lockdown has affected pupils’ mental health and over 70% called for additional staff training.
Schools are invited to register for Healthy Minds Haven and use the checklist which they can download at www.tcc-wales.org.uk/hmh. Any schools interested in finding out more can also get in touch by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org