How pupils across the OAT family are working to promote mental health

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week (4 – 10 February), OAT has announced some inspiring #iwill projects focussed on improving mental health across academies and communities. The project will run over the next two years with the aim of embedding them across school communities and making them sustainable for the future.


These activities are part of the #iwill campaign, which aims to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the triple benefit for young people, their academies and communities.

Children’s Mental Health Week was first launched by Place2Be in 2015 to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. Now in its fifth year, they hope to encourage more people than ever to get involved and spread the word, and pupils across the OAT network are rising to the challenge admirably with a variety of inspiring social action projects under the #iwill umbrella.

For their #iwill project, pupils at Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA) will shine a spotlight on mental health within the school and the local community with a dedicated vegetable patch, and brand-new mental health hub both designed to stimulate both body and mind. The hub will be open to members of the public once a week, and to pupils on a daily basis.

Created to provide a quiet place supported by the school counsellor, the hub will have beanbags, therapeutic colouring books, provide opportunities for discussion and contain important information about managing mental health for pupils to absorb. Their good work will continue out in the wider community with regular Mental Health Awareness events being organised by the pupils in partnership with specialist organisations, including the MACCAS project.

At Ormiston Bushfield Academy they have decided to focus their #iwill activity on supporting pupils with anxiety and low self-esteem. The student panel leading the project will be offering a variety of extra-curricular activities to boost confidence and aide peers with anxiety or other issues stemming from mental health. Pupils will also focus on raising money for mental health charity, MIND.

Ormiston Rivers Academy’s #iwill project dubbed #iwill Aspire, focuses on building self-esteem and confidence in pupils through a variety of projects including a new safe space for all pupils and the development of a new peer mentoring scheme, the Wellbeing Warriors.

The Wellbeing Warriors are a group of Sixth Formers who have volunteered their time and energy to become mentors for younger pupils experiencing difficulties with self-confidence. The group have worked with a Youth Therapeutic Charity for training and will shortly be certified Mental Health First Aiders. In the lead up to Children's Mental Health week, the Warriors held school wide information assemblies on wellbeing and encouraged pupils to attend different daily confidence and resilience building activities.

Other academies around the UK will focus on mental health as part of their wider #iwill activities through peer-mentoring programmes, community engagement and promoting self-esteem, resilience and awareness in their local areas.


For more on #iwill and our commitment to youth social action click here

For more on Children’s Mental Health Week click here