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'No one should be scared to speak up': Hampstead school tackles mental health 'stigma' through peer-led classes

PUBLISHED: 12:34 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 00:06 05 February 2020

Sixth-form students from UCS Hampstead have taken on the role of teachers around mental health. Picture: UCS Hampstead

Sixth-form students from UCS Hampstead have taken on the role of teachers around mental health. Picture: UCS Hampstead

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Sixth-form and secondary students from a Hampstead school are together tackling the "stigma" around mental health through peer-led lessons.

University College School (UCS) Hampstead recently piloted a scheme where 12 lower-sixth students delivered classes to Year 7 pupils about the impact of mental health, and the need for young adults to speak up about any issues they may face.

The project, launched by UCS deputy head (pastoral) Andrew Wilkes and middle school head Stewart Fitzgerald, saw the Year 12 students receive training on psychological well-being before delivering classes.

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UCS sixth-form student Izzy said:"Despite a great deal of progress in recent years, across the UK there is still a stigma concerning some mental health issues.

"I feel we helped to break down any stigma and I hope that the boys in Year 7 won't ever be scared to talk about their feelings or any issues concerning mental health."

UCS, an independent school with campuses in Frognal, Holly Hill and College Crescent, is now looking to expand the peer-led scheme to other age groups.

According to the World Health Organisation, mental health conditions account for 16 per cent of disease and injury in people aged 10-19 years old.

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