Launched in March 2019, BFCitC’s Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project continues to go from strength to strength, offering support to secondary school pupils from across the region.
The charity placed seven Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP’s), into five Burnley and two Pendle secondary schools, in response to the increasing number of cases arising in schools of pupils suffering from mental health issues. In 2018, the NHS revealed one in eight school-age children had an identified mental disorder, with BFCitC launching the Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project as an early intervention programme to offer one-to-one support and increase awareness of mental health among the Burnley community.
Having identified a number of cases arising of pupils struggling with confidence and self-esteem issues, female pupils from Burnley High School, Blessed Trinity and Unity College attended a workshop at Turf Moor recently.
The workshop followed a similar format to a session held for male pupils in May this year, with the pupils in attendance identified by Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project (SMWP) staff as needing further support building confidence and self-esteem.
Activities at the workshop included an open discussion on ‘what is self-esteem and confidence’, a mirror activity involving describing what they saw when looking in the mirror, a trust task where one group member was blindfolded, and the others had to provide instructions on how to draw an image, with the aim being to increase confidence levels and trust within the team.
Alongside the activities the group enjoyed a ground tour of the Clarets famous stadium before receiving a certificate as a token for taking part on the day.
Talitha from Unity College said: “I enjoyed the workshop. At first, I found it hard because I didn’t know anyone, I find it hard talking to people I don’t know but when I know them, I’m really loud.
“The Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project has helped me, I have a regular slot at school now where I meet with Beth. It’s good to have her to talk to. I first started to see a counsellor when my uncle died, and I’d started to feel down.
“It’s good to have Beth at school, it’s someone to talk to that you know will listen.
“I’ve realised since I started going to counselling and meeting with Beth that when I’m older I would like to get into a career in mental health. She’s inspired me.”
At the end of the workshop the group fed back on what they had got out of the day and how the Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project is helping their experience at school, with feedback including:
“Today’s workshop has been really good, it’s helped me make new friends and having Orla (PWP) at school has helped me overcome obstacles in life.”
“It’s nice to talk to someone I get along with and trust.”
“Sometimes it can be hard speaking to your parents about things that’s why I like going to Hayley (PWP) for help and advice.”
“Hayley’s there to speak to and she’s not judgemental. If you’re upset in class you can go and see her anytime, or if at lunchtime you don’t have anyone to sit with you can go and sit with Hayley.”
“Having Hayley in school has massively helped me. It’s like having a best mate you can spill everything to. She always understands what you’re going through.”