Devon teens create mental health resources for schools

Posted: 15th November 2021

A group of teenagers from Devon are providing schools with mental health resources in a bid to start conversations and help fellow students.

Conor, founder of Spark UK, said there was a “lack of resources and education for teachers”.

The teenagers, aged between 14 and 16, are distributing the supplies to 60 schools across England, including in Lincoln, London and Bristol.

The government said it was investing and improving available support.

‘Teachers under huge pressure’

The resources include a celebrity advent calendar, where famous faces including Jonny Wilkinson, Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry share their own struggles and offer tips to students.

The group formed in 2020 and are developing free lesson plans and assembly content.

Conor said: “We feel that every school should have the resources they need.

“There’s a lack of resources and lack of education for the teachers to give [these] lessons.”

Bridie, head of content for Spark UK, said: “Teachers are under huge pressure and do not have the time or training to help young people.”

Panic attacks

She said: “This makes us even more passionate and enthused about making a change and making a difference for our generation.”

Conor formed Spark UK with a fellow mental health ambassador from his school after seeing “so many people struggling”.

He said students had panic attacks, felt down, experienced GCSE pressures and had uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was difficult to see people like that.

“We thought that we needed to create stuff to help people,” Conor told BBC Radio Devon.

Tegan, head of communications at Spark UK, said: “We know many young people feel uncomfortable having these conversations and we want to help young people to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We recently announced more than £17m to build on mental health support already available in school settings and are also improving the support currently available, including by offering training for a senior mental health lead in schools and colleges.”

They said an extra £2.3bn a year has also been pledged for mental health and wellbeing services by 2023/2024 which will help an additional 345,000 children and young people to access NHS-funded services or school and college-based support, per year.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-58898615

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