Student Working

Making mental health a priority

October 10, 2019

Here at Ossett Academy, students’ positive mental health and well-being is a priority each and every day, and today, on World Mental Health Day, staff and students are going one step further, having conversations and making individual pledges about how to look after their own mental health.

Ossett Academy was one of the first academies regionally to employ a Mental Health Practitioner, based in our Let’s Talk Zone – a purpose-built, nurturing environment for students who require additional emotional support.

Miss Gaskell works with students who are struggling with their emotional and mental health for a variety of reasons, including students who are self-harming, have suffered a bereavement, have low self-esteem or confidence, or who may be struggling with exam stress or anxiety.

A student who feels they would benefit from emotional and mental health intervention, support or advice, should first talk to their Pastoral Year Leader, who can determine the appropriate referral for their individual needs.

Once a referral has been made to the Let’s Talk Zone, Miss Gaskell will work with the student, assessing the most appropriate support; this could be group work or one to one support, support from the School Nursing Team as part of Healthy Young People’s offer, or by signposting to external support services for young people.

The Let’s Talk Zone runs student support groups, for example; LGBT+, exam stress and anxiety, self-esteem and confidence. There is also a daily drop-in at break and lunch, open to all students who feel they need a place to be, or people to talk to – they can get that every day just by dropping in. Parents also benefit directly from the provision through regular parent workshops.

Miss Gaskell said “As in previous years, we’re honouring World Mental Health Day at Ossett Academy. We know that mental ill-health doesn’t discriminate – problems can affect anyone, at any point in their life. My role is to assess and support some of our more vulnerable students, to ensure they access the appropriate level of support to meet their needs.

“Alongside this, we recognise the importance of promoting and advocating positive mental health and taking ownership of our own well-being, which can change from day to day. We’re also working to redress the stigma that surrounds mental health, through raising people’s understanding of it. Although this is something we do daily, this important, global day is a fantastic opportunity to let people know what we do, and to hopefully go one step further in changing any negative perceptions that can still exist around the subject of mental health.

“Whilst this provision is in place we also have lots more to do to build even more support in to the offer we have. We encourage the whole Ossett Academy community to be a part of this.”

To find out more about the support offered in our Let’s Talk Zone, as well as a list of useful support services, visit

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