Youngsters are recognised for raising mental health awareness

Pupils from 31 Sunderland schools have been awarded charter marks to recognise their efforts in raising mental health awareness.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 4:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th October 2019, 5:30 pm
Pupils accepted Mental Health Charter Mark Status from the Mayor on behalf of 31 Sunderland schools at Southwick Community Primary School.

A ceremony was held on World Mental Health Day at Southwick Primary School, with Mental Health Charter Marks handed out by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor David Snowdon.

The charter marks have bronze, silver and gold levels, depending how well each school supports pupils and staff. The scheme is supported by Together for Children, which delivers children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council.

The charter mark is an initiative of Sunderland Youth Council (SYC), a group aged 11 to 19 who give a voice to young people across the city.

Together For Children Sunderland Lauren Williams and Isabella Johnston (right)

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The SYC meets regularly and has developed the award to encourage schools to spot signs of mental ill-health. The idea came about after the annual State of the City Debate in 2016.

Elisha Marsh, aged 10, a Year Six pupil at Hylton Castle Primary School, came up with the charter mark’s logo and received a special award for her outstanding creativity.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, mental health problems affect one in 10 children and young people. Mental health problems affecting children and young people include depression, self-harm, anxiety disorders, ADHD and eating disorders.

Mayor Snowdon, said: “It was an honour to assist in presenting awards to schools that have obtained Mental Health Charter Mark status. World Mental Health Day raises awareness of mental health issues, and initiatives like this are vital to offer the support needed.”

Catherine Barnett, chair of the Sunderland Thriving and Coping Group, said: “The emotional well-being of children and young people is just as important as their physical health.

“Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with issues in adulthood and that’s a key objective of the charter mark.”

Simon Marshall, director of education at Together for Children, said: “I encourage all schools and other education settings to adopt the Charter Mark.

“Mental Health should no longer hold any stigma, we need to encourage openness and ensure children, young people, their families and our colleagues receive support as needed.”

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