STUDENTS showed solidarity with classmates suffering mental health issues at the launch of a new mental health campaign.
The pupils of Oakwood High School wore yellow to show other young people that they are not alone when they feel down or unable to cope.
According to charity YoungMinds, three children in every class have a diagnosable mental health condition.
More than 80,000 British youngsters experience severe depression, while a quarter of girls and nearly one in ten boys showing some signs.
Rotherham Borough Council and its health partners launched a new campaign about mental health at school on World Mental Health Day on Tuesday.
The scheme is called STILL — which stands for stop, think, take interest, listen and live life.
Developed with young people, it asks youngsters to consider their mental health and that of their peers.
Pupils around the borough wore yellow as part of the #HelloYellow campaign run by Young Minds.
Cllr David Roche, the council’s Cabinet member for public health, said: “Mental health issues like depression are usually associated with adults.
“But research clearly shows that young people also suffer with such anxieties and we need to listen to what the research is telling us.
“That is why we want to encourage young people to take care of their mental health.
“Our campaign will promote positive ways to do this by challenging the stigma which surrounds mental health and getting people to talk and seek help when they need it.”
At Oakwood High School, mental health champions have been chosen to look out for their classmates.
The campaign is being rolled out across all schools from Year 6 upwards, with resources to help children think about themselves and each other.
Headteacher David Naisbitt said: “We take our pupils’ wellbeing extremely seriously.
“Mental health issues can stop pupils being able to reach their potential, so ignoring it is not an option.
“That is why we have identified pupils as mental health champions. Their role is to be available for other young people to turn to when they need someone to confide in.”
He added: “Often, children tell each other things they wouldn’t tell an adult, which can be for a number of reasons.
“So we want to give them every opportunity to get help if they need it.”
Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) took the RDaSH Health Bus to several schools on Tuesday.
Team manager Anders Cox said: “There may be many reasons why we are seeing a rise in mental health issues in young people — including exam stress, worries about body image and bullying.
“But this could also be down to people being more willing to talk about mental health issues now, which may be a result of high profile celebrities like the Royals raising awareness.”
He added: “We need to continue this move towards more openness by breaking down young people’s attitudes to speaking about mental health issues and increasing their understanding of them.”
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