Mental Health in Schools - My Day at the Diana Award Conference

31/05/2016 14:13 | Updated 31 May 2016

  • 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem at any one time, that's around 3 in every class.
  • 40% of young people said that they had experienced negative reactions from teachers because of their mental health problem.
  • 26% of young people said that the stigma attached to their mental illness has made them want to give up on life. (Time to Change)

Last week marked one of the biggest weeks in the year for mental health - Mental Health Awareness Week 2016. It took place focusing on the theme of relationships and why they are important for every individual. Not only did this week involve various events and twitter trends but there was an important launch of a new initiative driven by the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry called 'Heads Together'.

Heads Together looks to help people feel able to discuss their own mental health and support friends and family who may be experiencing a mental health problem. The main aim of the initiative is to completely eradicate the stigma associated with mental health problems and their Royal Highnesses are working with various mental health charities such as Mind, Place2Be, and CALM in order to achieve this.

With this in mind, I was honoured to have been asked to speak at the Diana Award conference, a charity closely supported by Prince William and Prince Harry on the subject of mental health in young people. The conference, titled 'Inclusion For All', took place at Barclays HQ, Canary Wharf on the 20th May and was attended by over 100 delegates from various schools and local authorities across the country.

As one of four main workshops throughout the day, my talk aimed to give adults working with young people practical tools of how they could prevent, identify and tackle mental health problems within their setting. Using my own experience of anxiety disorders whilst at school, the workshop included information such as what is mental health? Risk and protective factors, identifying young people at risk and starting the conversation about mental health within schools.

Some really interesting discussion points were raised including when anxiety becomes a disorder, how to help someone who is suicidal and what provision could be put in place to support young people with mental health problems. I was grateful that delegates were open to sharing their experiences and challenges and this supported the dissemination of ideas and best practice. This will really help in reducing the stigma attached to mental health in the long term.

Overall, it was a great day and some great conversations were had. I am so passionate about mental health and continually campaign to raise awareness of the issue in the hope that one day, mental health will be seen on a par with physical health.

I am always looking for new opportunities to help spread the word about mental health and am available for public speaking. If you are interested in booking me to speak at your next event, then please click here.