Saturday 10th October is World Mental Health Day. This year, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures across the country, it is more important than ever to step back and consider how we ensure that young people – whether that is our peers, friends, students or children – are fully supported to have positive mental health.
The Diana Award trains young people in primary and secondary schools as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors to change the attitudes, behaviour and culture of bullying behaviour. Anti-Bullying Ambassadors promote kindness and positive mental health in their schools. By running campaigns or initiatives that encourage positive wellbeing such as peer mentoring, safe spaces or mental health awareness, many schools work towards earning their Wellbeing Badge.
This puts Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in a great position to run campaigns that support wellbeing and help the whole school maintain positive mental health.
Our National Anti-Bullying Youth Board are passionate about tackling bullying behaviour and promoting wellbeing. We spoke to some of them about the great work that they do to ensure everyone in their schools’ is supported and confident in reaching out when they need help.
Paige, shared some of her school’s plans to support student mental health this term:
“As well as promoting anti-bullying awareness around my school, I am also highly passionate about mental health.
So many people suffer in silence and I think that is vital that someone stands up and uses their voice to end the stigma attached to mental wellbeing. Since going back to school this term, I have been even more vigilant about spreading positivity via compliments.
Two weeks ago, I delivered a ‘Welcome Year 7’ assembly where I wrote and printed 120+ compliments so each year 7 would leave the assembly hall with a smile on their face. Upcoming ideas include making “positivi-tree” where every student in the school writes something that they are grateful for. These will then be hung on a tree for people to admire. I firmly believe that with everyone’s help, we can provide more support for those dealing with poor mental health.
Remember: it’s okay to not be okay!”
Recently, our Youth Board took part in an activity where they designed posters to describe the concept of mental health to primary school students to ensure mental health is a concept young people are familiar with from an early age.
“My poster was based around the idea of ‘bottling up your emotions’ and not talking to someone about how you feel. I believe that if you start encouraging the idea that talking to someone about how you feel is good at a young age, then it helps beat the stigma when those children become teenagers and adults.”
Theo, Age 15, National Youth Board Member at The Diana Award
“In many primary schools, they promote physical well-being more than they do mental well-being. For example, most of us are taught how important eating our five-a-day is and how the well-being plate is essential. So, I thought that it would be a good idea to make a well-being plate but for mental health. The wheel in the brain states essential things that primary school children need to do in order to maintain a positive mindset. All segments are equal as everything stated is just as important as each other. The hands and emojis are relatable things that primary school children encounter on a daily basis so I thought that it would make it fun and engaging to look at.”
Paige, Age 15, National Youth Board Member at The Diana Award
“I used the idea of gaming to eliminate the stigma that the reason people in my generation struggle with mental health issues is down to technology. I used the idea of retro gaming because it builds the bridge between students and their parents. The aliens emphasise how mental health can invade the mind, the bullets show the ways to fight against them and the barriers represent the support of everyone around the person (the spaceship). Finally, the controller shows how someone can help improve their own mental health by breaking down the different areas that person can control.”
Kimberley, Age 14, National Youth Board Member at The Diana Award.
Why not run a poster competition in your school to raise awareness of the importance of positive mental health? You could display them around school with helpful contact details of organisations who can support young people with mental health. Check out our Support Centre for a list of organisations for young people.
We hope you feel inspired to ensure positive mental health for all in your school community.
Looking for handy Digital Wellbeing resources for activities to run in your school to raise awareness of positive mental health and screen time? Check out our Resource Centre – Digital Wellbeing: Keep Calm and Stay in Control and Digital Wellbeing: The Pressure for Perfection.
Already a trained Ambassador? Find out how to work towards your Wellbeing Badge.
View our Support Centre for a list of mental health organisations.
The Diana Award Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are a young person in crisis, you can text DA to 85258. Trained volunteers will listen to how you’re feeling and help you think the next step towards feeling better.