The first Boys In Mind/Girls Mind Too live webinar took place this month. Gabe, one our Youth Advisors who led the event, reports on his experience:
“The webinar that Will and I hosted on Thursday 24th was, I thought, a great event. We had a good turn-out, and our audience seemed genuinely interested in our outline of Boys in Mind’s work generally, as well as the focus of the webinar, which was the involvement of young people in creating a Whole School Approach to Mental Health. The audience understood the importance and the value of giving young people a key role in decisions about their own well-being.
We discussed our involvement in Boys in Mind and how we had helped to create a Whole School Approach at Beechen Cliff School, and we devoted a large part of the webinar to the impact that youth involvement can have. We received many comments showing appreciation for the fact that the webinar was punctuated with films, and concluded with our ‘A Message to Young Men’ film, which was made following the suicide of a young man called Lewis, to whom the webinar was dedicated. It was a particularly moving event as Lewis would have turned 18 on the day it was held.
We are grateful to Jim for hosting our Q&A session, as well as Ian from the Charlie Waller Trust. Their practical and technological support helped the webinar run smoothly and I am looking forward to the next one!”
A huge thanks to everyone who took part. To watch the Webinar in full, click here.
Blog – Why Can’t I Be Pretty Like the Other Girls?
Our newest Youth Advisor, Lucia, has written a powerful blog about her experiences of growing up with Afro hair in a predominantly white society. She compellingly describes how she was made to feel so different that she dreaded going to school and spent years trying to hide behind hair products but now appreciates and celebrates her individuality and wants to help others do so too. Read her blog here.
Another new Primary Champion
We are delighted to welcome Jackson, our new Primary Champion, to the Boys in Mind team.
Jackson has been involved in three films for Boys in Mind and has been working with us over the last 2 years. He is now in Year 6 at Paulton Junior School, where he has most recently been involved in a film project talking about how parents and families support children when they are struggling. Jackson will be meeting up with Finn, our other Primary Champion, soon so that they can work jointly in advising us what’s best in terms of our work in primary schools.
Laura Weston – BANES Volunteer of the Year
Laura Weston, a resident of Tanners Walk in Bath, was awarded the BANES Volunteer of the Year award at the BANES Community Awards 2020. Following last month’s success for Boys In Mind/ Girls Mind Too in the Charity of the Year category, Laura was nominated by the team at Sporting Family Change and was one of the driving forces behind the film that we made with the residents of Tanners Walk last year. Click here to see the Tanners Walk film.
Laura’s family contributed some fun films to our Getting Through This Together film project during the lockdown and the award recognises her selfless approach to her community. In typically humble fashion, Laura said “I just feel really grateful that they put me forward [for this award] because I don’t feel like I’ve done anything out of the ordinary”. Watch the moment Laura received her award here.
Finn's October Challenge
Finn’s October challenge: every day this month listen to a song that makes you happy. Make a playlist of all the songs and share your feel good mix with your friends.
Role Models Q&A
Our Role Models Q&A series makes a triumphant return this month with a fascinating conversation with Wayne Mertins-Brown. Wayne, a psychotherapeutic counsellor, has previously examined the differences between his experience of life in the UK with that of his father for our Men Who Care film series. To watch Wayne’s film click here. He told us how he was inspired to become a therapist after seeking support following harrowing workplace bullying and experiencing really positive treatment.
He also discussed how his work has evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, why combining exercise with talking therapy can yield positive results, and how a daily group call with close friends helped alleviate lockdown loneliness. Read Wayne’s inspiring Q&A here.
World Suicide Prevention Day
On the 10th of September, organisations and communities across the globe came together to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. The importance of raising awareness and understanding was highlighted by the release of data from 2019 by the Office for National Statistics which showed that the suicide rate among men was the highest for two decades.
While not all suicides are related to mental health, a significant proportion of people who take their own lives have sought support in the last twelve months, highlighting the need for greater investment in mental health services.
We can all play a part by raising awareness about the issue, educating ourselves and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, showing compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, questioning the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and sharing our own experiences.
As an organisation, we do not want to tell people what to think and do, instead we want to provide a platform for everyone to share their experiences of what helps with others. If you are feeling low or are worried about someone else, you can find lots of useful information and film resources on our website.
COVID Consequences: A Community Conversation
Boys in Mind/Girls Mind Too Youth Advisor, Will, spoke on behalf of young people at Bath MP Wera Hobhouse’s latest community conversation panel which focussed on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. As part of a panel, alongside representatives from Bath Mind, Bath Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and domestic violence charity VOICES, Will discussed the summer exams fiasco and the harmful impact of the uncertainty surrounding results.
He also explored the positives that he had seen during lockdown, including the work with which he has been involved at Boys in Mind, and discussed the importance of the Whole School Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing to help students and staff as they return to school. You can watch Will’s section in full here.
Boys in Mind has been putting together a toolkit to help parents, carers and friends know how to support their children and young people through difficult times. This has been happening alongside our How Parents Can Help film project. As part of this project we have been working with local schools and are delighted to launch our new film featuring parents, carers, and children from Paulton Junior School: Click here to watch film.
We will add more films over the coming year. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Families and Friends section of our website for useful information and resources.
Finn, our Primary Champion, and his sister Eva have compiled a list of their top tips for parents and carers of things they think will help, Here are Finn and Eva’s top tips…
1. Make time even when you have work to do
2. Notice when something is not right – we don’t always tell you
3. Listen and give us time to explain
4. Give us time and space to calm down
5. Help us make sense of things
6. Teach us ways to calm down
7. Check-in with how we are feeling
8. Try to keep calm even when we are not
9. Encourage us to see the positives
10. Talk about experiences you have had and how you coped with them