Government officials visit three schools to find out about mental health scheme
PUBLISHED: 15:54 18 June 2018
Government officials have visited three Newham schools to see how children are being helped by a mental health programme.
HeadStart Newham has been running for two years and offers a range of activities to prevent mental health problems from becoming more serious.
The delegation, which included Caroline Prudames and Daniela D’Urso from the Department of Education, as well as Cllr Julianne Marriott, cabinet member for education, children and young people, started off their whistle-stop tour at Lister Community School.
They spoke to staff and pupils at the Plaistow school to find out about the impact the programme was having and how it was helping pupils cope with exam stress.
It isn’t just secondary school pupils who are helped by the programme - the council-supported and National Lottery-funded HeadStart scheme is also working in primary schools.
At Curwen Primary School, the officials met pupils who have taken part in the BounceBack scheme, which encourages tolerance, making the correct choices and reflection on actions and feelings.
They also spoke to youngsters taking part in the Champions programme which aims to incorporate pupils’ voices into the Plaistow school’s mental health and wellbeing strategy.
At Little Ilford School, the visitors sat in on a peer mentoring session, which provides young people with the opportunity to talk to fellow pupils about their worries.
The second day of the visit saw the government officials take part in round table discussions with school staff and speak to both mental health practitioners and parents.
Cllr Marriot, said: “The emotional wellbeing of children is as important as their physical health, as mental health problems affect about one in 10 children and young people.
“They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.”
She added: “It is important that we do all we can to try and prevent mental health issues in our young people as this can stay with them for life.
“Programmes like HeadStart are valuable in supporting our young people’s wellbeing.”