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Students and teachers celebrate World Mental Health Day across West Suffolk

A number of schools came together last week to celebrate World Mental Health Day and raise funds for the UK’s leading charity fighting for children’s mental well-being.

Students and teachers from Rattlesden, Great Barton, Woolpit, Thurston and Elveden primary academies all went to school donned in yellow and donated money as part of the Young Minds #HelloYellow campaign.

For all schools apart from Elveden Primary, the day was organised by Claire Firth, learning mentor at Rattlesden Primary, and comes amid growing concern for people’s mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pupils at Rattlesden Primary.
Pupils at Rattlesden Primary.

Helen Ballam, headteacher of Rattlesden Primary, said mental health was as important now as ever.

She said: “The good mental health of our pupils and staff is a key priority at this time more than ever. We all need everyone in our school community to feel as happy and safe as possible in school.”

John Bayes, co-head of Thurston Primary, echoed Helen’s thoughts.

Thurston Primary.
Thurston Primary.

“At Thurston CE Primary Academy the emotional well being of our pupils has been a key priority for a number of years and even more so during these very challenging times,” he said.

“Supporting #HelloYellow provided a great opportunity to raise the profile of well being amongst our school community.”

Elveden Primary staff, pupils and parents raised just under £160 and spent the day engaging in a ‘be positive’ mindset. Mrs Maguire, lead in the area for the school, said a ‘great day was had by all’.

Two of the academies have been doing more alongside the HelloYellow campaign to actively improve their students mental health.

Pupils at Elveden Primary Academy.
Pupils at Elveden Primary Academy.

Great Barton Primary held a Wellbeing Week and Walk to School Week earlier on this year which focussed on different actions students and teachers could take to improve their mental health, including getting active and being mindful.

Headteacher Claire Ratley explained why she thought it was important to engage in these types of activities given the current climate.

Woolpit Primary organised a wellbeing project, PATHS, which was run by children’s charity Barnardo’s and has had great success in inner city schools in Manchester and Northern Ireland.

The school was selected to pilot the scheme in Suffolk, an announcement welcomed by headteacher Sarah Clayton.

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