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Norwich School Blog

Betsy James (L6) on World Mental Health Day

As World Mental Health Awareness Day approaches, we caught up with L6 pupil Betsy, who has a real passion for writing about and addressing issues surrounding mental health and in sharing her own experiences to help others…

The impact of mental health has certainly become prominent within our modern society. More and more people are realising just how important looking after yourself both physically and mentally is. Taking time for yourself is vital and learning what makes you tick as well as what doesn’t can all be said to link to positive mental health. Mental Health is a part of humanity that is essential, and Norwich School is proudly tackling and supporting the mental health of pupils.  

Mental health, unfortunately, isn’t the same for everyone, which is why it is such a difficult topic to talk about and tackle. One person’s experience can be completely different to someone else’s, however, something that all teenagers can relate to, along with parents, is school. Things such as exam stress, whether it is a simple common test in Lower 4 or GCSEs and A-Levels in Sixth Form, can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of teenagers. I believe this is something that Norwich School is aware of, especially as they have a fantastic team of support staff and teachers working with students to help them be the best they can be.  

My personal experience with mental health hasn’t been an easy ride and continues to be difficult, but the school has helped me tremendously. Meeting the school counsellors, talking with Mrs Valpied, being able to type my exams in a separate exam room during my GCSEs all helped to make sure that three years of preparation hadn’t gone to waste. I don’t think that I would have been able to complete my GCSEs without the help of the school, especially since I knew that I had countless people to talk to if need be. Even if it was a subtle nod from across the cathedral or a simple “How are you doing today?”, I knew that the school was rooting for me as an individual and wanted me to succeed.  

Mental health issues in teenagers can come from a variety of different factors such as increased stress, fear and anxiety, negative family environment, family conflict and social media. A loss of school, lack of exercise, the inability to attend Church and a disrupted community routine after Covid has also had a large impact on mental wellbeing and is something that all teenagers and adults can relate to. Getting back to normal and getting used to being back at school is something that Norwich School l is working hard to make easy for their pupils. Whether it is Cathedral assemblies, having lunch in the refectory with your friends or attending weekly sport sessions, no one can deny the positive impact that being back at school is having on teenagers. But, coming hand in hand with school is stress. Stress about exams, friendships, homework and teachers. That is why it is so important for those that are struggling or are worried about a loved one to speak up so that those struggling can get the support that they need to get back on track.  

The school has an amazing team to support the students. Whether it is your tutor, your favourite teacher, the nurse, the safeguarding team, the Head of Welfare at Norwich School, your Head of Year, your Head of Section, the school counsellors or even your trusted friends.  The support team behind each one of Norwich School’s students are there and most willing offer help. We spread simple messages within the school community such as the importance of kindness in everyday life, the importance of anti-bullying week, the recognition of World Mental Health Day and our support of charities such as The Mental Health Foundation, whose mission is to “help people thrive through understanding, protecting, and sustaining their mental health.”