The event was run by an interactive panel of mental health professionals from the NHS, who answered questions from students and dispelled the myths and stigma around mental health issues.
Rebecca Burkoff, Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, opened the discussion by asking the group questions about mental health statistics, imparting knowledge while illustrating common misunderstandings around mental wellbeing. The conversation remained local, focusing in on problems relevant to Enfield.
Rebecca said, “I really love coming to speak to college students; I think there is a lot of interest but a lack of knowledge. Being able to teach these students is very rewarding – seeing them leave knowing more about mental health.”
This video was shown to the students:
The World Health Organisation estimates that one in four people will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lives; currently, around 450 million people have an active diagnosis. While measures are being put in place to facilitate people into appropriate treatment plans, stigma reduction is the first step towards recovery. Staff at the event stressed the importance of opening up the conversation around mental health more generally.
Louise Webber, Enrichment Coordinator and Pastoral Lead for CONEL, said: “Events like this are definitely raising awareness and informing students on what mental health is and how it is affecting their community and the people around them. Even if they only take one thing away from this discussion they are still leaving here better equipped than when they came.”
The event follows on from a previous visit from 5asidechess. 5asidechess is a nationwide social enterprise “determined to reconnect people in a disconnected world.” The company aims to combat loneliness and social isolation by bringing people together with chess. 5asidechess visited both our Tottenham and Enfield Centres on 5 February 2019.
If you are personally affected by mental health issues – or know somebody suffering from a mental health condition – please contact one of your Safeguarding Officers.