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Schools set to ‘Talk out Loud’ about Mental Health as county-wide survey identifies young people are 81% more likely to have the confidence to talk to someone if they had a mental health need

A County-wide event to help raise awareness amongst young people about mental health and mental health stigma is taking place on Friday 10 February 2017.

As part of the NHS and Northamptonshire County Council Mental Health Stigma Programme; Northamptonshire schools will be taking part in mental health awareness day by 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.

The annual event (now in its fifth year) has a TALK OUT LOUD theme – encouraging young people to talk openly about their mental health. And to mark their fifth Mental Health Awareness Day, the Northamptonshire Mental Health Stigma Programme is today publishing the results of a county-wide survey to identify how young people feel about mental health. The survey, completed by over 1,100 young people aged between 11 & 18, that featured questions previously asked to a similar group back in 2011, has identified that there is a greater understanding about mental health. The survey also identified a large increase in the number of young people prepared to talk to someone if they needed help and support. The survey identified the following:

Dr Nathan Spencer, GP Board Member and Mental Health Lead with the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said "The results of this survey demonstrate the positive impact that activities, such as the Northamptonshire Mental Health Stigma Programme, are having on young people, and their attitudes to mental health. Whilst we are delighted to see such a large increase in the number of young people who would have the confidence to talk to somebody if they had a mental health need – it does highlight however that 42% of young people wouldn’t have the confidence so there is still further work to do.”

This year also sees Challenge Tessa! In order to promote Northamptonshire’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Tessa Parkinson - one of the Programme Managers for the Mental Health Stigma Programme in Northamptonshire - has been challenged to visit as many schools as possible. So between the 1 and 10 February, Tessa will be visiting over 40 schools, getting an MHSP boiler suit stamped by students, having photos taken with staff and pupils/students and delivering key mental health messages and resources for schools to use on February 10.

Northampton Town Football Club: The Cobblers are proudly supporting the campaign by displaying mental health messages on their big screen, welcoming and schools from across the county at the Chesterfield Game on Saturday 11 February. They will present awards to those who have demonstrated their commitment to improving mental health in their schools. They have also created a short film promoting the day which can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmt3Q_zkfBs

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

Hand Stampseach 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 and bubble Launch – schools across the county will be taking place in a countywide balloon and bubble launch at 12 midday. Children & young people from local schools, MPs, local councillors and other dignitaries will be in attendance.

Beach balls – thanks to sponsorship by Nationwide Building Society, every single secondary school form tutor in Northamptonshire will be provided with  a tutorial ball (in a beach ball style) for use in: form tutor time, at the end of any lesson or as a dedicated part of a lesson.  The ball will have questions on it, with many of those questions being linked to feelings and emotions. It will be thrown around the room as a group exercise to encourage discussion of mental health and emotional well-being.

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.

Northamptonshire libraries - in association with Northamptonshire Young Healthwatch - will have mental health themed displays and will be stamping hands at many libraries across the county on Saturday 11 February.

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.”

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


 Press Enquiries

Katharine Alsop

Mental Health Stigma Programme

Tel: +44 (0) 7974 141266

Editors notes

For further information on the day, to arrange an interview with representatives from the Mental Health Stigma Programme or to find out how you can get involved in covering events on the day please contact Katharine Alsop on 07974 141266 or e-mail katharine@factsolutions.co.uk or visit www.talkoutloud.info