Today, as part of my volunteering, I went along to a secondary school to do some workshops on mental health and the service I volunteer for, at some point in every session we asked the students (ages 12-13) what they knew about mental health and mental health issues. Some of the answers we got back were really interesting and I wanted to share a few recurring ones.
1) Although students were not clear on what Schizophrenia was, no one suggested it to be multiple personalities! (During college, this is what the majority of people I knew believe it to be). So I was very pleased with that! The most given answers were “paranoia” and “hearing voices”.
2) A large number of students asked if dyslexia was a mental illness, this is something that was asked across all of the sessions. The students, however, did seem to understand the difference between learning issues and mental health issues when it was explained.
3) When asked what beneficial stress busting tips they could come up with, a lot struggled to come up with ideas of what they could do when they were stressed. Punching things and throwing things seemed to come up a lot!
The workshops were really great and it looked like the young people took a lot away from it, so that was fab! We put across that anyone can suffer from mental health issues, and that they can lead a normal life and recover from those issues. There were no negative comments about mental illnesses and a lot of really interesting questions- was great to see them really engaging.
Anyway, I’m off to eat chocolate, watch a movie and think about how much work I’ve got to do…!