Students at St Oscar Romero Catholic School 'Get Active' for Mental Health Awareness Week

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St Oscar Romero Catholic School marked Mental Health Awareness Week with a ‘Get Active/Get Talking/Get Serving’ programme of wellbeing activities and fundraising for the mental health charity Mind.

In a recent study, NHS England found that 20.3% of eight to 16-year-olds had a probable mental disorder in 2023. Among 17 to 19-year-olds, the proportion was 23.3%, while in 20 to 25-year-olds it was 21.7%.After a rise in rates of probable mental disorders between 2017 and 2020, prevalence continued at similar levels in all age groups between 2022 and 2023. It is the place of the school to support children and use opportunities like the mental health awareness weeks for the improvement of students’ wellbeing.

At Romero’s, students were given opportunities to consider their own mental health and be attentive to their own and others’ needs. The week started on Monday morning with a whole school assembly opened beautifully by musicians Mr and Mrs Garratt, who performed their own stunning song called ‘You Choose to Love Me’. Mental Health Champions led the assembly and told the school about the plans for the week using the theme of ‘Get Active, Get Talking, Get Serving’.

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Students wore whacky, bright, creative and retro ties and won prizes for these categories. The most Vintage/Retro was won by Harry Blanks - Harry's Great Grandad set up a tie company in Dublin called CTC in the late 1940's with his brother and sister. It started slowly, but soon became very big, so much so they sold to America and the United Kingdom. Harry is styling a bow tie made by his Great Grandad

Whacky Tie CompetitionWhacky Tie Competition
Whacky Tie Competition

Students wrote down their worries or fears on a piece of paper and then made it into a paper plane and threw it is far as they could. This is a great method used to extract thoughts from the brain and out into the world to lighten a load. The paper plane competition was won by William McAdams in Year 8.

Most popular of the activities on offer was the half mile route around the field. Students and staff were challenged with collectively walking or running ‘virtually’ to The Vatican.

Mr Sloggett ran a half Marathon on Tuesday and was supported by Bertie Cresswell who ran a 10 km.

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Staff v Students Netball on Tuesday was very successful especially for the staff, who won!!

Staff versus Students Netball MatchStaff versus Students Netball Match
Staff versus Students Netball Match

The Tug of War was also enjoyed and created a lovely atmosphere of competitive joy.

FlashMob dancers led by Miss Standing performed all over the school on Tuesday break and lunchtime.

Students were given a booklet with information on how to access help with their mental health and encouraged to do the ‘10 Romero Rocks of Wellbeing’ throughout the week.

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Prayer Stations were laid out on Thursday for students to visit in the Chapel.

Mental Health AmbassadorsMental Health Ambassadors
Mental Health Ambassadors

The Mental Health Ambassadors, who had been working on this week since the beginning of the year, supported all the activities.

The week finished with an Inter Tutor Group Kahoot on Zoom. A quiz on Mental Health and a fun way to generate murmurs of excited voices calling out the answers around the school. In the afternoon Years 7 -10 walked to the beach to ‘Get Active and Get Talking’ and use the time to talk about how they can serve others.

Assistant Headteacher Mrs Julie House, Wellbeing lead for staff and students, said: ‘The need to address Mental Health issues is increasingly apparent. Young people with mental health conditions are under increasing pressure and struggling to get the right support as a result of the increased demand on the National Health System’.

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Headteacher Mr Byrne said: "We know that many young people face challenges to their mental health and wellbeing. This week was about ensuring school is an open environment in which everyone can speak honestly about the challenges they face as well as developing strategies that promote positive mental health. My thanks to Mrs House and the Mental Health Ambassadors who organised the different activities throughout the week."