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Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13 – 19 May on the theme of “Movement: Moving more for our mental health.” As many of our pupils are currently in the midst of their exams, earlier this term our Wellbeing Pupil Leaders organised Wellbeing Fest to highlight the importance of talking about mental health and the positive benefits from building movement into our day.

Wellbeing Pupil Leaders, Clemmie and Ivor reflect on their experience of organising Wellbeing Fest here:

Wellbeing Pupil Leader, Clemmie P said:

I had always thought that concerts brought people together and created a buzz. I think the Canford community was in need of something different but also bold. Therefore, the videos played in between acts acted as raw statements that spoke the truth about mental health, which I think people need to hear once in a while. I have definitely learnt a lot. My organisational skills have improved as managing a group of different people via email was a challenge. However, the night would have been impossible without Ivor's help and ideas. But also the performers themselves and the Layard staff. I was extremely grateful and recognised the importance of teamwork!

 The night was a huge success and I hope it can be continued forever more. The talent and willingness to be a part of it by the pupils was incredible. We had pupils from Shells,  Fourth Form,  Lower Sixth and  Upper Sixth involved in performing and in recording the powerful video messages and advice. Every act brought something special. It was great to have a representative from Dorset Mind share her personal story and show there is hope and recovery for all.

Wellbeing Pupil Leader, Ivor R said:

We had been planning the gig since around May of last year with Mrs Clinton, keen to work in our pupil leader roles to bring something fun to the community but with important and powerful messaging. The idea was partially inspired by the Centenary proms event just before the 2023 summer. We thought the staging for it looked cool and eventually the ball got rolling on our own music event. There was a lot to organise. We had to do a lot of communication between the performers and the Layard staff. But luckily both Kevin and Jon at the Layard were super helpful with it all. It was also a challenge to film the videos, but the students who stepped up to read out the comments were amazing, and Miss Wright, Mr Christopher, Mrs Collison, and Mr Vessey all gave some amazing words also. We wanted to promote the support and management of mental health and wellbeing for our pupil body, to show how important it is and how much the school wants to support one another.

I was really happy with the night itself. With some surprise it actually ran very smoothly. We only had a minor hiccup with some boys who were stuck in traffic from a cricket game, but luckily, we had others who strongly stepped in. Personally, I think a highlight of the night was the response to the videos that we played. I think they connected with a lot of people watching. It was also massively beneficial to hear some very honest responses and stories from teachers. I think they spoke so well, and it was good for people to hear that teachers have struggled with the same problems that they struggle with. Hopefully Wellbeing Fest won’t be a one-off and there might be one next year or the year after that.

Head of Wellbeing, Mrs Melissa Clinton said:

I was incredibly proud of Clem and Ivor for their drive, determination and professionalism in their Wellbeing Pupil Leader roles. The concert was a phenomenal success, many pupils coming out saying “it was the best night they have ever had at Canford”. The concept grew and it was down to Clemmie and Ivor’s hard work that it paid off. We were keen to deliver very important, somewhat raw and honest messaging about how people feel and how they have managed their mental health and wellbeing. I wish I could put into words how powerful these videos were, you could visibly see the connection with the audience, the empathy and the pride at hearing their fellow pupils and staff speak out. I was very grateful to our House Wellbeing Leaders both junior and senior who read the accounts in the video’s. I would also like to thank the performers, who supported the concept from the outset. It was fantastic to showcase so much talent from the pupil body. A special mention must go to the Shell and  Fourth Form band, who had the courage to get up in front of a packed audience and perform like they did. We had incredible musicians, vocalist, and dancers alike. The atmosphere was electric throughout the night, the buzz and community feel was wonderful to see. Ivor and Clem were also keen to raise money for local Mental Health charity Dorset Mind. Marie Glenn from Dorset Mind joined the Pupil Leaders on stage, kindly sharing her personal story, giving hope and signposting to services for all people. The hope was to start a legacy whereby the event would help break down the stigma around mental health and wellbeing. They most certainly achieved this and the date for next year is already in the school calendar. It very much showcased the community and the fantastic young people we are proud to call Canfordians.

Canford Wellbeing Fest