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Wyndham Spencer Academy Mental Health Captains prepare for Mental Health Week

Mental Health Wellbeing Captains at Wyndham Spencer Academy

Published on: May 23, 2024

Compass Changing Lives met with Mental Health Wellbeing Captains at Wyndham Spencer Academy to work on an Assembly for Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Mental Health Wellbeing Captains were children between the ages of 8 and 11 that had volunteered to act as champions of mental health and wellbeing in their school. These Captains were tasked with coming up with ideas for an assembly that they would help present, and would go on to be used elsewhere in the Changing Lives Service.

Mental Health Week in 2024 had the theme “Moving More For Our Mental Health”, so exploring and encouraging movement throughout the school was a key part of the assembly.

The Captains discussed and debated different ways of maintaining their wellbeing, including ways they liked to move both at home and at school. They put together a slide for the assembly, based around the concept of “5 Ways To Wellbeing”, explaining the concepts to their peers.

The fact that not all children had the same likes and capabilities was considered by the children, and this knowledge was used to develop advice and activities that were as accessible as possible. As a result, the movement challenges the Captains were workshopping took into account different levels of ability and potential limitations like cost. The children enlisted the help of another group of the school’s peer Captains, the Sports Captains, to lead an activity during playtime.

In addition to mental health advice and movement challenges, the final assembly included interactive portions. The Captains demonstrated different types of movement and discussed their benefits, and children attending the assembly were asked true or false questions in a quiz at the end.

Lauren Taylor, Supervising Practitioner at Changing Lives, led the workshop at Wyndham Spencer Academy with assistance from Participation Practitioner Rachel Ramos. Rachel had positive things to say about the experience:

“All of the children’s voices were valued, encouraged, taken on board and respected and they all worked together as a group to design parts of their Movement for Mental Health Awareness week assembly and challenges. It was a really confidence boosting workshop with children having their opinions valued to shape resources and activities.”

Rachel was particularly impressed with how the Captains listened to one another. Talking about a Captain bringing up the subject of inclusivity, Rachel said:

“It was really impressive to see all of the other children take her concerns on board and change their opinion to having individual challenges, being really inclusive. All of the children listened to each other, reasoned and worked well as a team for the greater good of the Captains and their classmates.”

This was part of a number of assemblies and activities that were taking place across Derby and Derbyshire for Mental Health Awareness Week , 13th-19th May. Working with schools and communities to raise awareness of mental health, particularly in a way that centres children’s voices, is a key part of the purpose of Compass Changing Lives.

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