26 April 2018

On the 18th of April 2018, a group of year 11 pupils organised a ‘tea and talk’ session, inspired by the Mental Health Foundation, with the aim of creating a safe environment for young people to open up and talk about their mental health

These sessions were pioneered in school on the 10th of October 2017 when staff and pupils at Archbishop Temple showed their support for Mental Health Awareness Day. As part of the day, the very first tea and talk session was held with members of the student council sharing their mental health experiences and how they dealt with them.

On Wednesday 18th April, Archbishop Temple invited ex-pupil Rachel Lord as special speaker to share her experiences of mental health. Rachel Lord has recently opened up publicly about her experiences, through social media and YouTube, in an effort to raise awareness and support others with their own journeys.

In the session, Rachel Lord shared her experiences of how obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression affects her day-to-day life. This was followed by a question and answer session where pupils were free to ask Rachel more about her journey and the therapy that she receives.

Charlotte Lockwood, Rachel’s close friend also joined the session and shared with the group about her experiences of helping and supporting Rachel. She spoke about the importance of listening to the people around us and being mindful of their issues.

Rachel said that she ‘found the session really great! Everyone listened and asked me some really good questions afterwards!’

The pupils who attended also conveyed their thoughts. 

‘For me, this session in particular really opened my mind to the real impacts of mental health and it has encouraged me to be more open about my own issues,’ said year 11 pupil Harneet.

‘I found the talk calming and made me less stressed as Rachel gave us advice to cope with exams. Altogether it was a great talk!’ said Aaron, in year 10.

 ‘It was a great experience. I loved how nice everyone was. Rachel was very open and answered any of our questions. I really enjoyed it and I would love to do something like this again,’ said year 7 pupil Zoe.  

Mr Baybutt who supervised the session said, ‘One in four of us will have problems with our mental health at some time in our lives according to the NHS.’

‘I thought the session was very useful, informative and upbeat with a positive response from everyone who attended. I thought Rachel was very articulate and engaging when talking about her own experiences of mental health issues and explained clearly about how she has coped using a variety of strategies. It was interesting to see an ex-pupil talking openly about her struggles but also about her outstanding academic and life successes. Truly inspirational.’

 ‘It was a nice experience; being able to ask someone who had experienced so much gave me confidence with my knowledge on the subject,’ said year 11 pupil Ben.

Overall, a fantastic, eye-opening session that educated everyone on mental health and its impacts. As a school, we hope to continue these sessions and further create opportunities for pupils to voice their issues and support each other.

Susanna, Head Girl