Mental Health Gold Award

In recognition of the ground-breaking work done over the past year to place mental health at the heart of Wellington College, the school has just been awarded the prestigious ‘School Mental Health Award – Gold Status’ by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

Students and staff have been given regular platforms to speak about their own mental health journeys, booklets for staff, parents and pupils have been prepared and distributed, and staff and parents receive regular safeguarding and mental health newsletters as well as weekly emails highlighting useful resources. The College has trained over 70 staff in mental health first aid and there have been several events such as house cake sales which have raised money for mental health charities. One pupil even organised a 24-hour danceathon to raise funds and awareness for mental health charities!

Early in February the College held a whole community mental health day where parents, staff and pupils came together to ‘open up a dynamic discussion on mental health and celebrate the opportunity to think about personal wellbeing’. Wellington welcomed 40 speakers and wellbeing practitioners who delivered over 75 talks and workshops over the course of the day on topics spanning a whole spectrum of mental health issues including addiction, eating disorders, depression and resilience.

Prestigious though the award is, it only really marks the beginning of Wellington’s journey to place mental health at the centre of its educational provision. Good progress has been made, and surveys sent every three weeks to staff and students over the lockdown months has enabled help and support to be properly targeted. Nevertheless, we recognise that we still have so much work to do in this area: how we help staff and students as we move into the ‘new normal’ will be crucial – allowing us to build on our knowledge, skills and commitment.

As society begins to recognise what a vitally important part mental health has to play with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is comforting to know that Wellington College is not only playing a leading role in formulating best practice, but has been recognised as setting a Gold standard.

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