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More than 25,000 pupils across Southwark supported by schools-led approach to mental health

13 July 2022

Last week teachers and Cllr Ali celebrated the outstanding work of schools to promote the mental health of Southwark's young people with an awards ceremony at Millwall FC.

Their work is part of Southwark Council's programme with school staff, local services and experts to improve mental health and resilience in schools (IMHARS).

To support young people’s mental health, the council approved £2m. This money has helped nearly 100 schools provide their pupils with a range of support and education to improve their wellbeing. Projects include poetry workshops and a mindfulness garden. Over 20 schools are working on shared projects, such as art therapy, residential trips, and drama workshops. Across all projects, more than 25,000 pupils have benefitted so far.

Pia Longman, Executive Headteacher at Peter Hills C of E Primary School, said: “We’ve found that funding has made a huge difference. We’ve been able to run programmes that help us target individuals that were at crisis point and families we knew were struggling. The children have developed a greater sense of resilience. Their communication has improved. Their behaviour with each other is much better. They have a better understanding of their own emotional wellbeing.”

A key strand of the council’s programme is including children's mental health in the training and development for all school staff. In over 95 schools across Southwark, more than 300 Mental Health First Aiders can now spot the early signs of mental health issues in a young person.

To build on this hard work and success, schools worked with The Nest and other local partners to develop the 'Wellbeing First' awards scheme. The Nest is Southwark's drop-in mental health service for young people on Rye Lane in Peckham. At this year's ceremony, Cllr Ali celebrated with 21 schools.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Education, said: “We owe it to our young people to prepare them for any challenges that come their way. We want them to progress through school and into the world with confidence and self-awareness. But we couldn't do this without our fantastic schools.

“Every day Southwark's teachers and school staff are helping us to build the resilience of our children and young people. I am so proud that our work together means children's wellbeing is at the very core of education in Southwark. This provides young people with the bedrock for success going forward. Our schools’ tailored and creative approaches to mental health show just how well they know their pupils. I was delighted to celebrate their success at the awards ceremony."

Page last updated: 13 July 2022