This week, as part of my work at Crossway in teaching RSE, I took part in some training in the city of Chester. This was run by Acet UK, an organisation I greatly admire for the passion they demonstrate in creating resources and promoting the teaching of safe, healthy relationships for young people. As one of their Esteem Network Members, I was invited to this special training on how to talk to young people with mental ill health about relationships and sex.
It was a fantastic course with many games and activities to challenge us and help us to think about how we might teach in innovative ways. But there was also a serious side as we contemplated the current number of young people with a mental health condition (1 in 8) and the fact that only 25% of these young people receive any form of treatment. Anxiety, depression and eating disorders are among the top three and teaching young people with these requires thought, forward planning and understanding that there can be emotional triggers to be aware of in conversations with them. Each of us went away feeling really inspired to reach out to one of the 28 secure centres in the UK to see if we could offer such a programme in our local area.
As I was staying up north for the course, I was also blessed to enjoy two nights in the historic centre of Chester, a beautiful Roman town, famous for its city walls. Very close to my hotel there was also a large church called St. John the Baptist. It was originally the cathedral of Chester from 1075 until 1541 and dates back to 689AD. They also had a Rev David as their Priest so I felt very at home visiting the church. If you are interested in history and want a trip to a charming, friendly, small city, I would definitely recommend Chester as a place to explore.
If you would like to know more about helping young people experiencing mental ill health, please do contact me for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.