March 11, 2019
Students took part in a week-long series of events to highlight the importance of mental health.
The initiatives were inspired by Time To Talk Day, which encourages people to hold events and get together to discuss mental health and highlights the importance of talking to people.
At OIEA, students held assemblies every day for a week during which students learnt about Time To Talk and the services that are on offer at the school.
The school nurse was available to talk, along with staff at OIEA who have received mental health first aid training, and parents and carers were also invited to visit school for a chat and to find out more about the school’s anti-stigma campaign and Calm Zone.
A whole school mental health quiz was held during form time with every form achieving a high score being entered into a prize draw. Art lessons had a wellbeing theme and students were encouraged to create artwork while relaxing music played in the background.
Selected students will receive a personal invite to tour the Calm Zone, an area in school available for any student who wishes to use it.
The room was recently opened after being decorated and furnished and is available at lunchtimes for any student who needs help.
Student anti-stigma champions, who have received specialist training, are on hand to offer support and can refer any serious issues to staff members.
Donations to help refurbish the room came from Ikea and students raised money towards the cost by holding various fund-raising events in school.
Jo Birkin, achievement mentor at OIEA, said: “The academy chose to get involved with the Time To Talk day as we have been actively involved in raising awareness of mental health within the academy and the importance of talking to others.
“It was great to be able to offer parents/carers the opportunity to come in and talk to a trained mental health first aider and have a look for themselves at the great work that the anti-stigma champions have been doing by creating the Calm Zone.
“The students really enjoyed taking part in the mental health quiz and there was a lot of group discussion around this.
“We look forward to offering the opportunity for parents/carers to come into the academy again at our next mental health awareness event.”