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Overwhelming response to Godolphin’s GO Parent: Talking Mental Health and Wellbeing conference

053 Godolphin School Talking Mental Health And Wellbeing 6Th Nov2019 Photo By Ash Mills

As a school, we have a responsibility to provide up to date, thought-provoking and informative sessions for parents and pupils alike. GO Parent was tailored to do exactly this. Good mental health and wellbeing is significant at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Our vision at Godolphin is to promote positive mental health which allows our community to realise their full potential and make meaningful contributions, as well as equip our pupils with the resilience, positive emotions and practices they can use beyond their school years.

With this in mind, Deputy Head Pastoral, Jenny Price, sought the expertise of a range of speakers with real, up to date and pertinent messages on a wide range of subjects such as OCD, self-harm, online behaviours, eating disorders and the recent changes in RSE, some of whom Mrs Price had met during MHFA England training. The programme offered a formidable array of knowledge and some hard-hitting messages (for which we do not apologise) which were brilliantly delivered on the day by each of our nine speakers. The message was one of ‘let’s talk’ and bring these topics to the forefront with several of our speakers talking about their own journeys and recovery. We need the support of our parents and by inviting them to join us for a day dedicated to mental health, we can learn side by side, how to best support our young people.

“ It was inspiring and indeed quite an emotional day...this generation of children are over burdened so any tips we can pick up along the way to inspire us and give us hope to help them are so appreciated ”
Godolphin Parent

Our vision at Godolphin is to become a hub for promoting good mental health and we have started to offer all our staff the two-day MHFA Youth Course. Community is important to us at Godolphin and we were privileged to join with the Magna Learning Partnership for the day. Our Sixth Form were fortunate to join the pupils of S6C and had three brilliant sessions from James Shone, Satveer Nijjar and Hope Virgo and Amy Forbes-Robertson. One of the Sixth Form pupils commented after the talks, “I just wanted to say how inspired I was by the fact that you were open enough to talk about it, it really helped me to feel like I wasn’t alone.” Another student said “thank you for sharing your story and helping people like me feel less alone and more able to talk” and another commented “it was really refreshing to hear people so passionate about metal health”.

Sean Fletcher got us off to an amazing start with his deeply moving talk about his family’s struggles to get help for his son Reuben who was diagnosed with OCD. There followed two break-out sessions from Hope Virgo, who spoke passionately of her personal battle with anorexia and Alistair Speers, (headmaster of Sandroyd Prep School) who spoke about resilience and managing failure. The day continued with sessions on self-harm from Satveer Nijjar, online harms from Dr Claire Hardaker and Amy Forbes-Robertson from It-happens spoke about sex education – when and what to say. After an amazing lunch, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, one of the most well-known and respected psychologists working in the UK today, spoke about nurturing young people’s wellbeing in the online world and this was followed by another break-out session which included a talk from Kevin West from the NSPCC and ‘inflating balloons of self-belief’ which resulted in a standing ovation for James Shone.

The feedback from the day was overwhelming and preparations for GO Parent 2020 are well underway! One parent said The day was hard - emotionally, but also because there was so much information to take in. I was saturated by the end of the day…but that approach of providing depth within topics is what made it so valuable.”. Another commented It was inspiring and indeed quite an emotional day...this generation of children are over burdened so any tips we can pick up along the way to inspire us and give us hope to help them are so appreciated.”

After the event, speakers have been in touch to tell us what they thought of the day:

Satveer Nijjar “Firstly, thank you so much for inviting me to such a wonderful day. It makes me so happy to see schools taking mental health so seriously…You really pulled it out the bag with the topics covered – parents were complaining that they couldn’t pick between workshops! I have come home to lots of tweets, messages via Instagram, twitter and emails thanking me for the session.”

Sean Fletcher “It was a great event. Well done for putting it on. The audience questions were excellent - it’s clear young people are faced with more pressures than previous generations, and that’s a huge concern for parents. I listened to Hope and Satveer afterward - they were brilliant.”

Amy Forbes-Robertson “Great to be part of this conversation – more of this needed – mental health honesty, understanding of resilience & emotional intelligence – honest relationships and sex ed dialogue. If only all schools had days like these!”

Photographs, taken by Ash Mills, can be found here.