The John Fisher School is determined in breaking down Mental Health stigma by their continuous effort to support a Mental Health Trust called ‘The Talk Easy Trust’, which is situated within the school.
The ‘Talk Easy Trust’ was first established by former student Aidan McNulty, who was frustrated over the lack of support for those struggling in school with either bullying or mental health issues. He was determined to help stop any bullying or any mental health that the students may face. With the tragedy in 2010 of a 14-year-old boy from Carshalton Boys School, committed suicide after allegedly being bullied. Aiden started up “The Talk Easy Trust” only two years after and it has been providing mental health support to students and also tries to break down the stigma of mental health by creating awareness.
Since then, The John Fisher School have been making huge progress in delivering a student mentoring scheme, which involves a one-to-one mentoring scheme where the mentors meet their mentees twice a week.
The mentors are trained to deal with a variety of issues such as: anxiety, stress, bereavement, bullying, depression and much more. With these skills the mentors are starting up “Year 11 Stress Scheme” which is going to be set up to help the Year 11 Students with the stress of GCSE, and it will also provide revision tips from the year 12 students and their own experience of them completing their GCSE’s
The Headteacher of The John Fisher School, Mr. McCullagh, praised the scheme saying, “It is a really important asset to this school, probably one of our key strengths within this school is having a Talk Easy Trust.”
Talk Easy Trust is led by a team of 32 Year 12 Students who take on the responsibility of the Trust. The significance of the trust being ‘student led’ is very important and is the key to helping out the younger peers, according to the former Director of the Talk Easy Trust, Daniel C-C, is that: “having a student lead trust has made it easier for The John Fisher School to progress into a ‘talking school’, mainly because those students who have been suffering with certain issues find it less apprehensive when approaching an ‘Older Peer’ than a member of staff.” This allows the student to speak out and have an older person to look out for them and to support them through the school year.
Mr. McCullagh, added: “as a result of the school’s budget being cut each year, I think that with limited resources you have to think differently. It is best to put in models and frameworks and strategies and making sure that the resources you do have, are being deployed effectively. The Talk Easy Trust is a fine example of that.
We hope to keep up the good work by developing the Trust and ensuring that when that group of Sixth Formers leave, there are another group of students coming through and can mentor others”.