It helps to talk: support for all students03 October 2016
This month Penryn College published a leaflet called ‘talk@Penryn College’. It is just one of the ways we are using to let our students know that there is lots of support available to them if they are having a tough time. The leaflet, written by Kirstie Oliver, Assistant Head with responsibility for emotional health and wellbeing (amongst lots of other things), explains which organisations offer online support for young people and their families. It also describes some really helpful, simple and immediate self-help strategies. Students are given advice on how to support friends because we know that teenagers can have great support skills themselves, and that their behaviour can make a real difference to others.
You can find the leaflet here: http://penryn-college.cornwall.sch.uk/talk/ All students have received a copy via their tutors.
We have also created a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Any student can use this to contact our support team for help and advice.
Who can help
We recognise that our young people live with stressful feelings and situations. There are many individuals and groups of people in school who can offer help and support. All tutors and teachers will listen and offer support to students. There are individuals who have particular support roles: the Skills Centre Manager, Isabel Bennetts, and our ESTs (Educational Support Team) Tracy Charles (Arwenack), Leah Ashton (Killigrew), Jo Binny (Pendennis), Debbie Stokes (Gluvias) and Julia Bissett (Year 7). They are are all here to resolve problems with friendship groups, family issues, bullying, exam and work pressures. The team all have particular specialisms so we do refer students for experienced help across the team. They run workshops on resilience, choices and consequences, and understanding anxiety. We sometimes organise ‘Draw and Talk’ sessions for individuals which use art and the outdoor environment for therapeutic purposes. We also work with Di Lobbett, Consultant in Behaviour and Emotional Health.
Our Student Support Leaders – students there for other students
We have a brilliant group of students, our Student Support Leaders, who have undertaken training in basic peer counselling support. They offer daily drop-in sessions for students and are available at break times in the Modern Languages Practice Room to offer a listening ear and sensible advice. They themselves are supported by English teacher, Janet Phillips.
Wellbeing is a school priority
Last term as a school we had a hard think about everyone’s wellbeing (for staff and students). The initiative was prompted by the student prefects of 2015-6. They organised a Wellbeing Week and spoke to all students and staff in assemblies about how to stay mentally well and safe. We now have a staff wellbeing group who meet on a half termly basis, plus a group of prefects who will be working with this forum.
Libby Everall (Year 11 2016) made a CBBC documentary on mental health which has been nominated for a MIND Media award. It’s called ‘Marvellous Messy Minds’ and we wish her the best of luck for November!
So, what it all means is we now have an Emotional Health and Wellbeing Strategy at Penryn College which makes us think about and review the best ways possible of ensuring the positive mental health of everyone here 🙂