Year 9 Mental Health Peer Education Project

On Thursday 14 July 40 year 9 students from Carisbrooke and Medina colleges came together at the Island VI Form Centre for a day’s training in mental health peer education. The students started the day with ice-breaking activities designed to bring them together and then took part in a number of different activities and sessions covering ground rules, safeguarding, common mental health issues, 5 ways to wellbeing and the skills required to deliver lessons. After an impressive lunch provided by the VI Form kitchen, the students worked in groups to plan and practise the delivery of mental health lessons. 

In January 2023, as part of a scheme designed by the Mental Health Foundation, the students will be delivering five sessions, during PSHE lessons, to the year 7s in both colleges. The programme is built around the principles that young people may feel more comfortable asking questions of peer educators than of adults and may find peer educators more credible and relevant than adult educators. In addition, peer educators can become role models of the topics they teach within the school environment, with the hope that the social relationships developed through peer education can keep the conversation going beyond the end of the project. 

The students involved were a credit to both schools approaching the topics with maturity and sensitivity. The skills demonstrated, when practising for lessons, convinced us there’s definitely some future teachers in the group! Students were also keen to develop some more peer mental health services, using the tools of the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’ which we will be exploring over the next year; so watch this space!