Nene Park Academy Students Lead The Way In Improving Mental Health

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, students at Nene Park Academy have been showcasing the great work they have been doing to improve mental health in school and reduce stress levels.

Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, runs from the 14 to 20 May and this year’s focus is on stress. At the start of the school year, Nene Park Academy established a mental health champions group made up of 22 Year 12 students who work together to raise awareness of mental health in the school.

Teacher, Samantha Lawrence, is leading the Stress Less campaign at Nene Park Academy. She said: “I am so proud of our mental health champions. It is great to see how passionate the volunteers are about helping their fellow students to develop essential tools to cope with their mental health, which will be especially helpful this exam season.

“The champions volunteer after school to take part in workshops and form plans to improve their fellow student’s mental health. The work they are doing is especially important as a recent study showed that 70% of children and adole

scents who experience mental health problems do not have access to appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age– we are working hard to change that at NenePark Academy.”

Nene Park Academy’s student champions have completed the Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind ‘Take five’ challenge, spending five weeks looking at changes they can make around school to reduce stress and implement a StressLESS Action Plan. They also attended a theatre production on male mental health and suicide earlier in the year and are currently being trained as mental health first aiders.

Principal of Nene Park Academy, Steve Howard, said: “It is amazing to see how hard our mental health champions are working to improve mental health awareness in school. The students have worked hard to share their knowledge with the rest of the school and have delivered several successful presentations for their fellow students – one of which was watched by Ofsted during our recent inspection.  I am proud that Nene Park Academy is making student mental health and wellbeing a school priority and I look forward to seeing what our student champions can do in the future.”

Looking forward, the student champions will attend a mindfulness and meditation session and feed back these skills to all pupils. The champions are also helping to prepare a bid to gain funding for a ‘Chill Out Zone’ and hope that by building a designated area in school they will provide a safe place for students to relax and de-stress.