Ormiston Park Academy’s mental health champions

  29 April, 2021

OPA's mental health champions

Ormiston Park Academy is working closely with the Thurrock School Wellbeing Service to promote positive mental health across the academy. In April, the School Wellbeing Service delivered a one-day workshop and training for students across all year groups.

The service usually delivers the training to 6-10 young people over a six-week period, but the school wanted to do more to show their commitment to supporting young people in all aspects of their school life and ensure they have the tools to tackle this increasingly important issue. 

Following successful completion of the mental health training, Ormiston Park Academy now has two mental health champions for every class in every year group. These champions will now act as student representatives for all things mental health related and support their peers when needed. 

The whole-day certificated training course was attended by 55 pupils who all completed the required five modules. They will now all wear a mental health champion badge on their school blazer, so everyone knows who they are and that they can talk to them. The training also offers follow up sessions on exam stress support, anxiety gremlins and self-confidence, as well as action planning to ensure a detailed and focussed plan is in place. 

This initiative will bring so many positive benefits in having a student leadership team dedicated to the emotional wellbeing of the whole school and we are excited to see the outcomes they will achieve.

“We learned about panic attacks and what to say and what not to say. We learned that self-harm can come in many different forms. I will be looking out for changes in my peers now that I have a better understanding. People may be less intimidated and more comfortable talking to other people of their own age.”

Year 8 mental health champion

Staff mental health champion and head of Year 8, Miss Mussenden said: “Having an open dialogue about mental health and empowering young people to take ownership over their mental health was the main driver behind this initiative. Our students, collectively, were keen to learn more about their emotions and in these uncertain times they wanted to do more to promote positive health and communication amongst their peers. They have been a credit to themselves and the academy in taking up this huge challenge and I could not be more proud of my team of champions. Watch this space…”

Principal, Mr Roessler said:

“We have been extremely fortunate to have worked with the Thurrock School Wellbeing Service to train a large cohort of students in understanding about mental health issues. The training team were great and our students really engaged in the programme. Ormiston Park Academy students have 55 mental health champions and that is absolutely brilliant.”

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