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
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