09 February 2016

A countywide event to help raise awareness amongst young people about mental health and mental health stigma is taking place on Friday 12 February.

As part of the NHS and Northamptonshire County Council Mental Health Stigma Programme, Northamptonshire schools will be taking part in mental health awareness day, providing schools and the wider Northamptonshire community with the opportunity to raise awareness of mental health stigma in lots of interesting, fun and inclusive ways.

Talk about it

This day also marks the launch of a new set of materials for schools focusing on peer support that encourages young people to Think It, Talk It and Work It through with each other. The materials have been developed by a group of Northamptonshire students.

The suite of materials includes:

On the day there will be lots of events taking place:

  • Hand stamps – each secondary school has been provided with a hand stamp to use on the day. Schools will be asking students to demonstrate their commitment to stamping out mental health stigma by stamping a mental health message on their hand.
  • Balloon launch – schools across the county will be taking place in a countywide balloon launch at 12pm. Children and young people from local schools, MPs, local councillors and other dignitaries will be in attendance.
  • Chatterboxes – thanks to sponsorship by Nationwide Building Society, every single secondary school student in Northamptonshire will be provided with a chatterbox, to encourage young people to talk to each other about emotional well-being and mental health.
  • Northampton Town Football Club: The Cobblers is proudly supporting the day and have created a short film promoting the day

Other activities such as a mufti day and themed mental health awareness assemblies are also taking place in primary and secondary schools across the county.

Tessa Parkinson, Programme Manager at the Mental Health Stigma Programme said “We all have mental health and mental health needs. It’s just that some of us can meet our own needs and others need help or support – and that’s ok.

"Mental health is everyone’s business and it’s our business to change people’s views and perspectives to reduce mental health stigma. We really hope that Mental Health Awareness Day can make some contribution towards this.”

Beating the stigma

David Loyd-Hearn NHS Commissioning Manager Children and Young People - Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health, said “Through our work with young people, their parents, carers, teachers, youth workers and health professionals we have seen time and time again the negative effect that mental health stigma can have on children and young people.

"We hope Mental Health awareness day will present schools and the wider community with an opportunity to talk about the issue openly and candidly, focus on the importance of positive wellbeing and ensure everyone can access the support and information they need.”