Edinburgh Academy Mental Health Day, 9th November 2022
This full day event was held at the Edinburgh Academy Senior School, Edinburgh, for pupils aged 11-18. The programme for the day was developed by senior pupils in collaboration with a clinical psychologist and experienced training in mental heath. The day started off with a talk by Jonny Benjamin MBE, founder of the youth mental health charity, Beyond, followed by a Q&A with the whole school attending an extended morning assembly. Throughout the rest of the day, pupils engaged with various workshops and sessions around mental health topics. For example, the younger year groups attended experiential workshops on the three systems models of emotion (threat, drive, and soothing), using coloured balloons and post it notes. The older year groups attended workshops on self-criticism/self-compassion. Other sessions during the day included ‘chat rooms’ to discuss key mental heath topics chosen by pupils, and conversations about how to access mental health support.
Throughout the day, there were also a number of stalls set up in the main hall, including a ‘graffiti wall of kindness’, a ‘guessing people’s emotions’ game, and a ‘media & resources’ stall for collating the pupils’ own recommendations of helpful videos, books, podcasts, etc. The Project Soothe stall was set up on the large projector screen in the main hall on. On this stall, pupils of all years were interacting with the ProjectSoothe.com website, on either a school iPad projected onto the large screen, or on their own personal smart phones and tablets. They found out about the project and submitted their ratings for ‘How Soothing’ they found the images to be (on a scale of not, to somewhat, to very). The younger pupils linked this activity to what they had learnt earlier in the day about ‘threat’, ‘drive’ and ‘soothing’ systems in their experiential workshop. The pupils were showing a lot of engagement and interest across the day, and across all year groups. There was a consistently large crowd of pupils gathered around the Project Soothe stall, and lots of questions being asked. The pupils were particularly interested to hear that Project Soothe has been developed by Prof Stella Chan in their home city, at the University of Edinburgh, and that the first major public exhibition of Project Soothe had been held at the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden (2017), which is just around the corner from the school.
You can read more about the event by clicking here.
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