Shrewsbury School

Reduce the stigma and start the conversation: Postor Body organise Mental Health Awareness Week

Friday 7 May 2021

Every year, the Postor Body have an individual aim for how they, as a group, can positively influence the school.

This year, we chose the issue of mental health to focus on and have coordinated our own Mental Health Awareness week at Shrewsbury. As peers and members of the Shrewsbury community we wanted to use this week to start the conversation around mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it.

Throughout this week pupils have engaged in a range of activities with a focus of raising awareness of issues surrounding mental health. We began our week with a short video, outlining to the pupils what it was all about. Then, two Postors, Orlando (Rt, UVI) and Joseph (SH, UVI) spoke in Chapel to the 5th Form about their experiences, something they will be repeating to three other year groups in the coming weeks.

With an aim of creating a more comfortable atmosphere in which one can speak about mental health, a team of Postors went around to talk to junior school tutor groups in houses about the language we use when discussing mental health. We then held a zoom seminar with the counsellor, Wendy Brook, for third and fourth form, though many other pupils from different year groups attended, which was exceptional in aiding us to raise awareness and to also remind students in what ways they can get support.

We have been very fortunate that our catering partners, Holroyd Howe, have worked in conjunction with us on the week, looking at the link between nutrition and mental health during lunchtime on Friday. We also fed the discussion of the importance of fuelling ourselves correctly into houses where we had pupil-led conversations, coordinated by the Postors.

Both the motion for the Junior House Debating Competition and the library book blast - which were based on the theme of mental health - have acted as tools to help our message reach an even wider range of recipients. As well as working to help those within the school, we have also been keen on raising money for charities associated with this issue, and we have managed to raise upwards of £600 thanks to a cake sale carried out by a taskforce, helped by the contributions from across the houses. This will only be increased by our non-uniform day later in the term.

As Postors, we have developed our skills of leadership, communication and delegation. We have all really cherished the opportunity to step up to the plate and pursue a student-led initiative. From the pupils’ perspective, according to the feedback we have received, it has been overwhelmingly positive, and we hope that we have encouraged people to open up the conversation surrounding mental health, and for the school to continue having these important conversations for years to come.

 Immy J (MSH, UVI) and Joseph M (SH, UVI)

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