Mental Health - BDAT
First Powerful People Meeting
25th March 2022 with Cllr Susan Hincliffe, Sarah Muckle and Student Representatives from Immanuel, Buttershaw, UAK, Westminster Primary, DTA, Belle Vue Girls
Asks, taken from student workshops
We want trained staff in each school to provide mental health support. Can you help us to provide this?
We want students to be trained as wellbeing ambassadors with other students. How can you help us?
We want proper access to mental health support in the community for students at home, out of hours or if school is closed. How can you help us?
Will you identify a named person in your organisation to work with us to develop these goals? Will you meet with us monthly to update us on progress and agree a plan and timetable by 25th July 2022?
Introduction from Students
Issues of mental health have increased through the pandemic.
We are not all the same but we all want the same chances. This is about fairness and equity.
We have listened to students in our schools and we have learnt what mental health challenges mean.
We think young people are stressed out because of exams and for not being in education for such long periods over time over the last couple of years. We also think young people feel like they don’t have the support to be able to deal with their issues or know who they can talk to.
The pandemic has negatively impacted on everyone's mental health, taking away confidence and a sense of stability for the future.
The effects of poor mental health are important issues to address that young people should not have to deal with alone.
Mental health is very important and consideration and discussion about it needs to be normalised.
Lived Stories of Mental Health
From Wiktoria, Immanuel College
Pandemic Recovery Summit- A Story
Covid. A time of complete chaos, loss, uncertainty, isolation and anxiety. For everyone, no doubt. But when you’re a teenager, on top of that a student, it really can feel as though the expectations on your shoulders are dragging you down to the ground, in some extreme cases it can feel as though your world, your future is all hanging on by a thread. The unpredictability of the whole situation can make that thread seem really unreliable at times.
I remember for me personally I was already struggling before the pandemic began, so it really did feel like the world was testing my limits. After months of waiting, I was finally supposed to be getting genuine help in the form of therapy at CAMHS, yet that unfortunately turned into empty phone and zoom calls which I struggled to even attend due to a complete lack of structure and schedule. I recall being stuck in my room unmotivated, alone, simply dreading the next day knowing it will be the same as the last.
At the time I didn’t even realise what this would mean in terms of our education, its only now when we are back in school that I feel the immense pressure of catching up, succeeding, rebuilding relationships and maintaining a good mental health amidst all of that, speaking as a perfectionist, its unbearable at times. Will my work pay off? Will I complete my coursework in time? Does my work even mean anything considering exams can be cancelled any day? We are children, currently drowning in anxiety, stress and expectations we are required to live up to. But we know you have the power to help and strengthen that thread for so many children in Bradford.
From St John’s Primary School, via Buttershaw School
A group of students at Buttershaw School, in the Wellbeing department of the student parliament met, via zoom, with some Year 6 pupils from the Primary school, the Academy at St Johns. We wanted to gather some students’ perspectives about mental health issues faced during the pandemic, but we reworded our questions slightly due to the fact these students are still in Primary School.
In response to the question: How being in lockdown at home made them feel?
The students said they felt upset, that they had missed out on chances to socialize. They missed being able to hang out with their friends. They struggled to get online for some of their classes when internet broke and worried about missing their education.
Their teacher added that during circle time they had talked about Anxiety and some students said they felt anxious that even though it felt nice to be at home, they didn’t know when normal would return, and if things would be the same.
In response to the question: How did it feel to have to go to school via a computer?
The students said they felt upset having to go to school on the computer. They didn’t get to see their teachers or their friends in real life. They found that the work they had to do was not easy, and they couldn’t do it like they can in a classroom, in their exercise books. They didn’t like that you couldn’t get any feedback from their teachers. They also found it confusing as you couldn’t ask the teacher questions.
In response to the question: How did they feel about coming back to school after the lockdown?
When we asked this question the class of Year 6 students cheered. They said they felt very happy, amazing and very excited. They could now see their friends and their teachers, no more bad zoom meetings with broken cameras
Their teacher added that there was now a lot of things they could do that they couldn’t before, for example their music lessons, and they have been really excited to learn how to play lots of brass instruments and Christmas carols.