The end of S3 is a transitional period that can be a trigger point for issues such as stress, anxiety and mental health problems. After attending a Literacy and Mental Health CPD workshop at Elgin Academy run by Librarian Shelagh Toonen, I was inspired to run something similar at Hazlehead and have been working for several months, along with the Youth Support Team, SMT and various health professionals to put together a programme of activities, talks and workshops to raise awareness of mental health.
We began well at the start of May with a talk from ex-Hazlehead Depute and now Mental Health trainer, David Alexander about his own experiences and the importance of being aware of your own state of mind and maintaining good mental health. This was followed by two art therapy sessions in the library, laughter therapy sessions in the Youth Work Base and then a day of workshops with psychologist Linda O’Donnell who will be running ‘triad’ role play sessions looking at the importance of talking and listening. The following week sees a Bibliotherapy session held in the Library which will look at how poetry and literature can support mental wellbeing and be a source of expression and release.
On Wednesday 24th David Alexander returns for another extended assembly when he will be running a workshop with the pupils. Finally, during the Senior Induction Day on Friday 9th June there will be various activities offered to the pupils, including mindfulness training and music therapy.
During these few weeks we hope that the pupils will learn to recognise what good mental health is, gain a better understanding of how to maintain it and what to do if there is a problem, which will see them through their senior phase.