Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

At the beginning of April, we had our very first Mental Health Awareness Week. Over the course of the week we had various events, including speakers, a film at lunchtimes, yoga, Zumba and meditation.

I was able to see two of the speakers. Both talks were entertaining, inspiring and offered new information, which everyone enjoyed.

The speaker Wale Oladipo, from Mind, Body Breakthrough, not only told us why things work the way they work, but how the simple things we do affect our mind as well as an insight into the way our brains work when it comes to mental health. For example, what our brains look like when we smoke or drink alcohol in comparison to a healthy brain and how drinking or smoking can impact on not just our physical health but also our mental health. We also got to understand the importance of exercise and its impact on our mental health. The session was interactive and Wale Oladipo made the session entertaining and applicable to our daily lives, so that mental health didn’t really seem to be a separate thing from us and out of our control, but just as in our control as our physical health. One lucky student was able to have an EEG scan of her brain, and see the reaction in her brain when she spoke or thought about certain things which was an amazing experience.

Another speaker, Wendy Bateman, hosted an interactive session which we were encouraged to take part in as much as possible and again, it helped to make mental health seem as much a part of us and as controllable as our physical health. We were asked to think of our worries – if they were in our control, partially or completely out of our control. Not everything is within our control, and that is a fact of life. If you can do something about it, what are the actions you can take. Sometimes we need to break down a worry and look at the bigger picture, because all too often we get carried away with the little details, and these are things we all need to remember.

The activities at lunchtime during the week were a great success. The Well-being team did a fantastic job putting everything together, and the Anti Bullying team chipped in to show the film Wonder over two lunchtimes; a very inspiring movie which showcased the damages of bullying. Many teachers held lunchtime activities to help students de-stress and relax, such as mindful colouring and typography. The turnouts for the events were great and everyone enjoyed getting involved.

All together, the AGGS first Mental Health Awareness Week was brilliant, and helped the school community as a whole. Not only did the speakers help shine a light on our well-being, but the events brought together the school and allowed us to embrace a positive approach to well-being and raising awareness of the importance of mental health.

Thank you to the speakers who were able to visit school: Wendy Bateman, Lily Jo and Wale Oladipo from Mind, Body Breakthrough, and the teachers who held lunchtime activities throughout the week.

Written by Annabelle, Year 10