A group of eighty primary school children took part in a mental health and awareness and well-being conference at OurPlace entitled ‘Mind Maintenance Matters’.
The pupils, from eight primary schools across the borough took part in four workshops throughout the day, lead by a diverse range of practitioners using laughter, music, improvisation, drama, mindfulness, art and ‘tapping’ – a calming technique that combines traditional acupressure with deep breathing and a verbal message to your subconscious – to break down the stigma associated with mental health issues and learn techniques to identify, improve and maintain mental health and wellbeing.
Carmel Perry, a Learning Mentor at St. Margaret and Mary’s Junior School said:
“Mental health, like physical health is something we all have, it’s part of our wellbeing, it’s how we think, how we act and how we feel. Both physical health and mental health can range from good to poor and can change over time.
“In this ever-changing world, children are facing different pressures as society evolves, yet the increased demands of everyday life are affecting the well-being of our children.
“The pressure on children to achieve both socially and academically is impacting upon their self-worth, emotional security and resilience, causing them to doubt their abilities, which can be an indicator that a child’s well-being is at risk.”
Jackie Harris, Learning Mentor at St Margaret and Mary’s Infant School added:
“Arts and creative expression are integral to the development of good mental health. With this in mind, we felt the need to organise this conference with the aim of empowering children to explore and experience a range of innovative techniques to help them to address improve and maintain positive mental health and well-being.”
“Through their role as school council representatives the children will share their experiences and learning with their peers back at school which will further help to break down the stigma around mental health.”
Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, opened the conference, speaking to the children about how he is passionate about working together to support the emotional health and well-being of our children and young people by helping them to develop the confidence and skills to understand and share their thoughts, feelings and emotions.
The conference was brought to a close by the presentation of certificates to the children from the Mayor of Knowsley – Councillor Jackie Harris, followed by a performance from Liverpool blues/rock band, Xander and the Peace Pirates.
Parents and carers were also invited along to attend the ‘Mind Maintenance Matters’ Market Place which comprised of local agencies and services informing them of what support is available for them to access to maintain and help improve mental health and well-being. These included; Healthy Knowsley, FACE Forward, Knowsley’s Green Space Rangers, Knowsley Children’s Centres, Volair Leisure, Macro Balance and a NatWest Community Banker.