As GCSE examinations get underway, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s pioneering HeadStart programme has helped to develop guides which support the mental wellbeing of young people during this stressful period.
HeadStart Wolverhampton has worked with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, which provides free mental health training to schools across the UK, to design and develop three separate guides; one for young people, one for parents, and one for teachers.
The guides offer tips and advice to young people about managing their emotional well-being at exam time, and guidance for the adults who live and work with them on how best to support them.
Young people are encouraged to get the balance right between well-planned revision, rest, and other activities. Tips for parents advise them to become actively involved in the examination process, but to be both encouraging and supportive without adding unnecessary pressure.
Members of the HeadStart Wolverhampton team supported with the design of the guides, which can be downloaded for free at www.cwmt.org.uk and from the HeadStart Wolverhampton website at www.headstart.fm.
Kevin Pace, HeadStart Wolverhampton Head of Service, said: “We have been delighted to work with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust to develop these fantastic guides which we hope will help local young people, their teachers and families through the stressful examination period.
“While many young people enjoy the challenge of taking their GCSEs, there are others who will feel incredibly daunted by them. Equipping young people with the skills to cope with potentially stressful situations will enable them to navigate the challenges that might lie ahead.”
Clare Stafford, CEO of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, which was set up in memory of a young man who took his own life, said: “GCSEs, and indeed all exams, can be quite a stressful time for many young people. Our guides are aimed at ensuring that pupils get as much support as possible, as well as finding a balance between work and rest.”
The HeadStart Wolverhampton programme is designed to improve the resilience of children and young people aged 10 to 16 by giving them the skills they need to cope with the challenges of modern life.
Thousands of young people received help and support during a two-year pilot, and last year the council was granted additional Big Lottery Fund money to extend HeadStart Wolverhampton for a further five years, meaning thousands more young people will benefit from the programme by 2021.
HeadStart Wolverhampton marked last week’s Mental Health Awareness Week with a series of events in schools and the community, including discussing HeadStart with members of the Wolverhampton public in a pop-up shop at the Wulfrun Centre last Thursday, and supporting the opening of a new Community Hub at Moreton School on Saturday.
They also welcomed Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Barry Findlay, who met the HeadStart Ambassadors, a group of 16 to 25-year-olds who are helping develop services for young people, and enjoyed “Jake’s Story”, a short film created by Central Youth Theatre to illustrate the aspirations of the HeadStart Wolverhampton programme.
Full details of HeadStart Wolverhampton events for Mental Health Awareness Week can be found at www.headstart.fm/news/mhaw2017, and media on HeadStart’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/headstartfm.