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Posted on Feb 8 2023 by Fiona Bailey

BBC Northampton spent time with some Northampton sixth form students earlier this week as part of the St Andrew's Healthcare LightBulb Roadshow.

To mark Children’s Mental Health Week, the LightBulb team has been touring schools across the county to raise the profile of preventing poor mental health among young people. 

Thomas Becket Catholic School was the first school on their schedule and students were happy to share their experiences with the BBC, with the full interview was broadcast on the Breakfast show on Wednesday, February 8 at 745am.

Jasmine, who is the school’s Head Girl, said life can be very stressful for young people at secondary school.

The 18-year-old said: “I first started feeling overwhelmed in Year 11. I found it very stressful because of exams as it was a lot to manage. I was really struggling. At first I didn’t talk to anyone, but eventually I opened up to my friends and it was a big relief. They encouraged me to speak to staff at school and I did. It really helped.”

Isabelle, who is in Year 12, took part in a LightBulb mental health awareness session last year where she learnt about the different conditions that can sometimes affect young people.

She said: “I did the training because I have friends who have mental health issues, I also want to do psychology at uni. We covered how mental health can present itself and the different ways people can be struggling, I felt like it’s been put at the centre of pastoral curriculum.

“You need to be able to help someone before things get too bad. It’s important to check in and at the very least ask someone if they are ok. For me school is a comfortable space as I know teachers who I trust and the school genuinely tries to help.”

Emily, who is also in Year 12, shared that she had mental health issues at her old school in London. “I acted out in class, but, when I came to Thomas Becket that changed. I made good friends who listened to me and the school really supported me.

“Talking is the most important thing to do. Having someone who will sit and listen to you is so important. Just knowing that someone is there, not judging you can really make a difference.

Schools across the county are being given the opportunity to sign up to a free mental health roadshow, helping teachers to put the “power of prevention” to the test.

Thomas Becket’s Assistant Headteacher Molly Harrison said: “If children are unhappy then they are not going to thrive in the classroom, which is why we’ve put tackling poor mental health at the top of our pastoral agenda.

“Sadly, exams, problems at home, social media and bullying are just a few challenges that our young people nowadays must contend with. When we found out about the LightBulb Mental Wellness Programme we instantly knew it was something we wanted to get involved in. Last year the team came and delivered training to students and staff.

“The Roadshow has served as a great refresher for us all, reminding the children that no problem is too large and they can always talk to a trusted teacher or a close friend when things start becoming a bit too much.”

Cheryl Smith, LightBulb Founder and Headteacher of the St Andrew’s children and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) College, said: “Figures used to suggest that one in 10 children within a classroom would experience an issue with their mental health. Now, that number has increased to six out of 10. It’s staring us in the face that the problem is getting worse and we need to take action now.

“The LightBulb Mental Wellness Programme has been created to give schools and parents the skills and resources to spot an issue before it starts developing into a bigger problem. It’s so important that we take great care of children and their minds, making sure they can recognise when they may need a bit of a helping hand.”

LightBulb is an initiative that is available all year round and provides the participating school with mental health awareness and support training for all school staff as well as sessions for both parents and students. Each session talks about symptoms, support and signposts resources.

Since it was launched in 2021, the programme has been delivered at 30 schools and reached more than 16,000 children.

The LightBulb programme is suitable for both primary and secondary schools up and down the country. St Andrew’s Healthcare is a charity and therefore the programme is not a profit-making initiative, which means the pricing structure has been created to ensure it is affordable to all schools. 

Primary school with up to 200 students    £200

Primary schools with over 200 students    £400

Secondary Schools                                 £800   

For more information or to sign up to the LightBulb Roadshow email