Valerie visits Queen Mary’s Grammar School to present Speaker’s School Council Award

On 13 October 2017 I was delighted to present the School Council at Queen Mary’s Grammar School with the runner-up plaque in the 17-19 year old category of the Speaker’s School Council Award for their ‘Change Your Mind’ project. I also met with the Headteacher Timothy Swain and Head of German Sophie McPhee.

The Speaker’s School Council Award is a national awards scheme run by Parliament’s Education Service on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

The aim of the ‘Change Your Mind’ project was to increase mental health awareness, particularly among Year 6 and Year 7 students in a time of transition. Since the launch of the project, the School Council have raised awareness of mental health in six local schools through assemblies and presentations.

The project comes at an important time as we mark the 25th anniversary of World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2017, an opportunity to reflect on how we can support each other through difficult times.

Currently three children in every classroom have a mental health condition, and over 80,000 young people in the UK are severely depressed. At the same time, referrals are rising, too many families are experiencing lengthy waits for assessment or treatment, and more and more young people are being admitted to A&E for self-harm.

Mental health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. It is important that we raise awareness of mental health in our local community and ring-fence mental health budgets to ensure funding reaches the frontline.

For more information on the Speaker’s School Council Awards visit: