Date Published: 03 March 2017
A project to promote positive mental health and well-being among children and young people in Rutland has been praised for its good work by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.
Rutland’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health programme supports primary and secondary schools around the county, ensuring that students of all ages are able to access the right help, advice and support whenever they need it.
The project is run by Rutland County Council and Healthwatch Rutland with support from the Rutland Youth Council and is championed by the High Sheriff of Rutland, Dr Sarah Furness.
Having been running for two years, Rutland’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health programme pledged its support to the national Heads Together campaign at a special event at Oakham Castle on Wednesday 1st March. Heads Together is spearheaded by Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and aims to change the national conversation on mental health from one of stigma and fear to one of support.
The Heads Together campaign, which is also supported by three Founding Partners, covers a wide range of mental health issues that are close to The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry’s passions.
A special message from The Duchess of Cambridge was read aloud at the event by The Lord Lieutenant for Rutland Dr Laurence Howard, thanking the Rutland project for its support and commending the work being done to support children and young people. This has included:
- Surveys asking children and you people about their mental health needs
- Training for all Rutland primary and secondary schools to help support pupils
- Workshops with young people to develop effective support networks and services
Wednesday’s Mental Health and Well-being event brought together more than 100 people, including pupils and senior representatives from schools across the county, to explore mental health issues and the role of schools in the early identification of warning signs in children and young people.
“Mental, like physical health, is something we all have. Everyone will experience pressure to their mental health during life. It’s normal to not always be ok and the more we understand that, and the more we talk about it, the better we can help each other. Awareness of this is especially important for children and young people. They are facing arguably greater pressures from modern life than previous generations of young people. The support that we have introduced to Rutland schools over the past two years is a step in the right direction and we’re pleased to now be supporting Heads Together to do more for our children and young people in future.”
Dr Sarah Furness, High Sheriff of Rutland
As well as pledging support to the national Heads Together campaign, Wednesday’s event saw the beginnings of a new Whole School Charter which will encourage schools to adopt a series of key principles to promote positive mental health and well-being.
The Whole School Charter is being supported by Rutland’s Youth Council, who have identified mental health as the most important issue affecting children and young people in Rutland.
“Because mental health is such a broad area, we’ve looked closely at what we want to achieve as a group and chosen to focus our efforts on raising awareness and reducing stigma. We’ve found that some support services are in place already but aren’t always helping because some young people don’t know about them. We want to work more closely with schools to change this and need teachers on board if we want any change to last. We’ve done as much as we can on our own and now need all schools to come together through a whole school approach so we can start working as a county to help all students.”
Elke De Vries, Rutland Youth Councillor
“This event has been the culmination of two years of work to promote positive mental health and well-being in schools. It’s crucial that children and young people know where to go to get help if they’re experiencing stress or anxiety or are fearful about anything in their lives. It’s also important that they have the confidence to make use of this help and support, which is why we’re encouraging support from schools through the new Whole School Charter.”
Councillor Richard Foster, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People