WHILE students are on their last day of the Christmas break, staff at Old Swinford Hospital School today (Tuesday, January 3) took part in a training day to focus on mental health issues in young people.

The continual professional development (CPD) day follows guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE) last year, which provides advice on mental health and behaviour in schools and sets out to help schools build emotional resilience in young people.

Around 70 per cent of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age, so the school hopes its CPD day will assist teachers in identifying and supporting children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Guest speakers at the Stourbridge school’s CPD day included clinical psychologist Dr Rebecca Johnson, mindfulness coach Vari McLuskie and award-winning mental health campaigner and author Jonny Benjamin.

Jonny was recognised in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List with an MBE for his services on mental health campaigning and his own challenges were subject to a Channel 4 documentary in 2015 entitled ‘The Stranger on the Bridge’.

Paul Kilbride, headteacher, said: “We are very keen to build and boost emotional resilience in the young people who live and study at OSH.

“Our next moves are to roll out mindfulness training across the school and develop an increasingly pre-emptive approach to mental health matters amongst young people, who are the future of this country.”