Headucate is a student-led society initially formed by medical students. It has since grown to a university-wide society boasting members from all courses. Headucate is passionate about raising awareness for mental health, stamping out the stigma surrounding poor mental health, tackling discrimination and signposting to support available by running workshops with 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.

Previously, we visited schools to deliver hour long workshops to students from years 7-13 about mental health. Our in-school workshops covered themes: what mental health is; some common mental health conditions particularly addressing some common misconceptions; signposting to coping strategies; support and treatment available and how to approach someone with a mental illness. Pupils who were chosen, or volunteered, to attend our workshops were named Headucate Ambassadors for the school and would continue the legacy of Mental Health advocacy within the school, organising activities, running stalls, creating posters, distributing self-care stickers etc!  

This year, we have had to tackle new and unfamiliar problems and students have had it especially hard. One problem that isn’t so unfamiliar to us is mental health. Therefore, we created a brand-new workshop, developed by qualified Mental Health First Aiders, to strengthen mental health awareness within schools which incorporates challenges we’ve faced due to COVID-19 and how they’ve affected us. While the aim of the new workshops stays the same, the one crucial difference is that they are now online.

We can deliver a live, interactive virtual webinar to a class or year group at a time. On completion of the webinar, all students will receive certificates to highlight their engagement with the workshop. A group of 3-5 Headucate Ambassadors, either volunteered or chosen by the teacher, will be provided with a workshop PowerPoint, script, flyer template and UEA Headucate contact information as part of the Headucate Ambassador pack. The Ambassadors will then be able to deliver their own workshops and events for fellow students and help point their peers in the right direction if they need help. We will also include information about fundraising for mental health charities and for establishing a good network of help within the school for students to access. We hope that this new role will be embraced by the students and that every school will develop it in their own way!

We understand that it can be difficult to find a time and place that works for everyone, so to make things easier this year, and to make mental health education more accessible to young people, we are also able to provide interactive pre-recorded 40 minute sessions, which include a quiz, that can be played for your students at a time convenient for you, and your students will still receive their certificates and Ambassadors will also still receive Headucate Ambassador packs!

The overall benefits of our webinars include:

  • Works in classrooms, either on an interactive whiteboard or on individual laptops, facilitating a more intimate, informal, open discussion about sensitive topics
  • peer-to-peer learning which encourages group work, understanding and compassion
  • a lasting presence of mental health awareness within the school
  • developing creativity, public speaking and organisational skills when planning and delivering sessions and other events, such as fundraising events
  • being part of an ambassador structure that creates stronger ties with UEA and gives them a taste of university life
  • excellent project to be involved in that can be included on CVs and personal statements