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Weekly Edition - Published  01 September 2016


Local News Report - Mobile Page


NHS mental health training supports local youngsters to help each other

AN education programme being delivered in 10 local high schools is encouraging teenagers in Wirral to help support each other's mental health and wellbeing.

The programme, led by local mental health trust Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), is training 6th Form students to deliver educational sessions about mental health awareness to year 9 classes. Following the training, each 6th Form mentor receives a recognised qualification in mental health first aid.

Analysis into the peer education programme's impact has revealed a large rise in both young people's awareness of mental health issues and their understanding of what support is available in the community. Schools receiving the programme include:- St Anselm's College, Upton Hall Grammar School and Weatherhead High School.

Fiona Pender, CWP Wirral Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), said:- "The school peer mentoring programme has had a huge impact on young people's attitudes towards mental health in our community. This includes a significant reduction in stigma and an increased knowledge of services available in the area. We know that young people listen to young people, and this model allows school age children learn about mental health from each other."

Introducing peer mentors into the school environment has enabled CWP to hold conversations about mental health and wellbeing with young people at a critical age in their cognitive development, with 50% of all established mental health difficulties being experienced before a person reaches the age of 15, and 75% before the age of 18 (excluding dementia).

Becky Jones, wellbeing coordinator at Weatherhead High School, said:- "The mental health first aid training has been a real success in our school. Not only did the training benefit our staff, but our Peer Mentors have really embraced and flourished in their roles. They have not only delivered presentations to Year 9 students as part of their PSHCE lessons, but have worked directly with students offering relevant and much needed support."

In addition to coordinating the pioneering peer mentoring programme in local schools, CWP also provides a wide range of mental health and emotional wellbeing resources for young people on its multi award winning website.


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