Headucate is a student-lead society initially formed by medical students. It has since grown to a university-wide society boasting members from a variety of different courses. Headucate is passionate about raising awareness of mental health, stamping out the stigma surrounding poor mental health, tackling discrimination and sign-posting to help available by running workshops with groups of school students. This aims to open a forum for discussion about mental health in a safe environment and promotes mental health awareness and well-being.

This year we have created an exciting new programme to strengthen mental health awareness within schools and create a lasting impact. The new structure is simple: we will deliver a workshop to a group of no more than 30 students who have been selected by the school to become their very own Headucate Ambassador Committee. Students will be provided with a workshop PowerPoint, script and flyer template as part of a Headucate ambassador pack. It is then up to the Headucate ambassadors to use these resources to deliver workshops to the rest of their peers in small groups. We also hope the students will make a lasting impact by planning and delivering more sessions after the initial workshop, getting involved with fundraising for mental health charities and flagging any concerns about peers’ mental health to pastoral teams. We hope that by providing this opportunity, schools can select students who can benefit from this experience and build on their skills in preparation for later life.

The overall benefits of this format rather than a standard assembly workshop include:

  • Smaller workshops with students selected by their school to act as mental health advocates, feeding into schools existing safeguarding policies
  • Peer-to-peer learning
  • A lasting presence of mental health awareness within the school
  • Encourages group work
  • Students feel less intimidated to share their opinions in a smaller group of peers

The benefits for students involved include:

  • Developing creativity, public speaking and organisational skills when planning and delivering sessions and other events, such as fundraising events
  • Leadership opportunities within the committee, by electing a president and vice president
  • Being part of a committee structure that creates stronger ties with UEA and also gives them a taste of university life
  • Excellent project to be involved in to reference on CVs and personal statements

The workshop will cover the themes of what mental health is, some common mental health conditions particularly addressing some common misconceptions, signposting to coping strategies and support and treatment available and how to approach someone with a mental illness.

We will also discuss their role as Headucate Ambassadors and give them lots of ideas of how they can get involved and bring Headucate to their school. The workshop will last roughly one hour in length and is delivered best to a group of no more than 30 students. These sessions are aimed at students in years 10-13.