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How our schools joined together to tackle mental health issues

Sixth Form students from Thomas Deacon Academy organised a virtual Mental Health Summit to identify barriers young people encounter when getting support for their mental health. 
Mental Health Summit
Youngsters at Thomas Deacon Academy organised a brilliant Mental Health summit

The event, which included 20 adults and 60 students from across eight schools in Peterborough, formed part of the Peterborough Citizens Alliance’s listening campaign. 

Gilchrist Dsouza, Year 13 Sixth Form student at Thomas Deacon Academy, said: “We have been planning the summit, with support from Citizens UK for some time. Despite the pandemic, we were able to go ahead with this important event by moving to an online platform to deliver it.  

“The event was fantastic! We had lots of important discussions around mental health and the services available to young people like us in Peterborough. 

“The session also included some incredible student testimonies and we heard from several guest speakers including Ex Posh player Leon McKenzie, Lydia Crawford from The Mix helpline, Dr Amaia Robles-Fernandez from the NHS Mental Health Support Team, and Paul Bristow Peterborough MP.

“For me, it was a really great opportunity to listen to the views of other young people across schools in Peterborough, especially given the extra stress and difficulties at the minute. It was also good to hear how mental health services can improve in the future and to gain commitment to support this”

“As a result of the summit, we have managed to secure a meeting with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group and have set up a Peterborough-wide Mental Health Action Group. Overall, it was a really good experience where students felt valued, supported, and listened to.”

The Mental Health Action Group will be meeting regularly in December 2020 and January 2021 and completing a phase of listening within each respective school before meeting with the CCG in late January 2021. 

Thomas Deacon Education Trust and Thomas Deacon Academy worked with Citizens UK to set up the Peterborough Citizens Alliance, as a result of funding through the Government's Integrated Communities Strategy.