Thurston Community College shines the spotlight on mental health

5 Sep 2017


300 professionals from local schools and NHS staff attend training day


Thurston Community College is putting student mental health centre stage by hosting an awareness and training day for local teachers and health professionals.


The Professional Development Day on Tuesday, 5 September, aims to improve staff understanding of wellbeing issues and how to recognise and respond to children who may be struggling.


The event is being attended by West Suffolk secondary school staff across the Thurston Partnership, which consists of the school and primaries in the catchment area - including teachers from 16 of the feeder primary schools.


Staff from local education, social care and health services are also attending to support the event and increase transparency across services.

School nurses from Suffolk County Council and mental health specialists from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will also be present to share learning. It is the first time local schools and services have come together in this way to focus on mental health.


The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, a mental health charity, is providing expert speakers and trainers to support the event, which takes place ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th.


Thurston Community College Clinical Psychologist Dr Beth Mosley, who organised the event, said:


“Prioritising wellbeing is the foundation for students to be able to reach their potential and cultivate resilience. By improving knowledge and understanding of mental health we hope to reduce stigma and increase staff confidence to both respond appropriately to students with mental health issues and to know when and how to access appropriate services.


“With a whole school approach we hope to support early intervention and prevention of mental health difficulties for our students.


“It is great to bring together local primary schools and health professionals and we hope to continue to work together in a joined up way in the future.”


Recognising and responding to signs of mental health issues in children and whole school approaches to wellbeing are among the topics being discussed on the day.


Dr Mosley will also be following up the training day with a workshop for parents focussing on anxiety in young people in October and this is likely to be a termly event.


In January 2017 Thurston Community College, which has 1,750 students, became one of the very few schools in the country to appoint a full-time clinical psychologist.  


Dr Mosley offers sessions to students, as well as support to staff in identifying issues and advising on how to best help a young person with mental health concerns.


Clare Stafford, CEO of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust said: “We are delighted to be part of such an interactive and comprehensive training day. Thurston Community College is leading the way in prioritising mental health and pulling together agencies to provide the best possible support for young people experiencing problems.”