by Jen Rogers
St John Fisher College, Newcastle-Under-Lyme

The week 5-9 February was the National Week for Children’s Mental Health. This year, here at St John Fisher, we wanted to do something to raise awareness of this important issue.

Each Form group were given five prayers to say throughout the week. In this collective worship all staff and students were united in praying for people suffering from mental health. The prayers ranged from praying for people suffering depression, to eating disorders, to addictions. These prayers then allowed for a Form discussion to take place to allow people to understand who to see for extra help and to make positive steps to tackle mental health issues. These prayers were also posted on our website and on our Facebook page so that they could be discussed further at home.

The school council interviewed a wide section of the school to ask their opinion on mental health and how the school addresses the issue.
Tom Alcock in year 8 said that although the topic was distressing at times the prayers showed a ‘brighter side’ to it and that ‘it’s good now as students are a little more clued up as to where and how to get support inside and outside of school.’ During the week all form tutors spoke to the students about the pastoral support offered in school and who to speak to if they felt they needed to.

Year 10’s discussed how useful they found the talk from Rob Dawson from North Staffs MIND in October and Ms Rogers confirmed that he will be coming in to talk to the next year 10 again in October. This is now booked as an annual thing.
However the year 11’s suggested that he might be able to come in again before the exams start to discuss ways of how to cope with stress. We are currently seeing if we can facilitate this. The year 11’s also discussed with the younger students ways that the school helps students to cope with exam stress and encouraged the yoga that is offered by the school as a way to relax.

We pray that all people suffering from all mental health issues find peace and guidance in the Holy Spirit, Amen.