Wellington College Community Mental Health Day

“I went home and, for the first time, had a conversation with my son about his mental health. Thank you for giving me the tools to do this with more confidence.”

The whole College community came together on Saturday 8th February 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. Alongside these talks, a wide range of experts gave workshops on: mental health in sport; the unconscious brain; spirituality in mental health; eating for good mental health; financial wellbeing, and last, but not least, the importance of creating and managing mentally healthy organisations and departments.

Students, parents and staff also took the opportunity to try something new to boost their wellbeing by having a go at a diverse range of activities from calligraphy and slacklining to pottery making and board games. It was great to see both young and old learning and having fun alongside each other. The College Library transformed into the “Mallinspa”, offering shoulder and hand massages and the opportunity to experience ‘pranic healing’. There were jigsaws, chill-out rooms and mindful colouring-in while over lunch we saw the return of the very popular community ‘pat dog’ team. The V&A café saw speakers Rachel Kelly and Luke Sutton signing their books, as well as hosting displays from the St Mary’s Calne Young Enterprise group who had written their own book entitled ‘Note to Self-Insight and Anecdotes: for Teens by Teens’. The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and SupportU (who offer support to individuals on LGBT issues) were also based in our popular café.

The day has been praised by the whole community as an excellent initiative which really did draw people together. It not only widened knowledge about mental health but also opened conversations about difficult topics and helped break down the stigma that still shrouds mental health. Feedback on the day included comments such as: “it was a brilliant day – so much fun even though the topics were serious”; “it was a stunning day – well done Wellington for all you are doing on mental wellbeing”; “it was a privilege to be involved in such an amazing event – everyone at the College made me feel so welcome”; “I went home and, for the first time, had a conversation with my son about his mental health. Thank you for giving me the tools to do this with more confidence”.

Plans are already underway to make Mental Health Day a regular feature of the Wellington College year, and to ensure that next year’s renewal will be even bigger and better.

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