Minding the gap with school’s mental health schemes

by Chloe Wilson

At Waddesdon CofE Secondary School, mental health is taking a priority. Headteacher, Matthew Abbott spoke of the importance to recognise every individual’s mental health, and the ‘shared responsibility’ his school has in providing support.

Specifically, Waddesdon runs a PSHE programme tailored to prepare young people for the challenges of growing up in the outside world. Alongside this, Mr Abbott informs us there are several sports-based programmes that not only support mental well-being but help to develop mental resilience.

The all-encompassing nature of Waddesdon’s mental health initiative is clear in their ‘Active in Mind’ programme, which involves potentially vulnerable younger students with older student peer mentors, with the joint aim of overcoming physical challenges’.

Mr Abbott describes the impact of these programmes as ‘manifold’, as they not only help individuals but also reduce stigma surrounding mental health. Through staff training and collaboration with the school counsellor, Mr Abbott says Waddesdon is now ‘a school that talks positively about mental health’.

Finally, Mr Abbott believes all said initiatives are intrinsic to a whole commitment to the school’s Christian values: to enable everyone to live ‘life in all its fullness’, flourishing as a school collectively and as individuals.