In a class of their own: The school prioritising mental health

Nadiya Hussain knows how vital it is for young people to have an outlet and a voice. Although she had anxiety during her childhood, she received no additional support at school and lacked someone to speak to about her feelings.

In the BBC One documentary Nadiya: Anxiety and Me, Nadiya visits Hove Park School in Brighton to see what measures they have in place to support their students. The school has introduced a specialist team of mentors who are on-site specifically to help any students experiencing anxiety alongside the pressure of studying and being teenager. These teacher-counsellors are trained to spot the early signs of anxiety, and have dedicated therapy rooms.

Nadiya speaks to students at Hove Park School about the pressures they face.

Head teacher Jim Roberts explains how the support at the school doesn't just help the students’ wellbeing; it also helps them to improve their attainment levels: “If a young person feels as though they are safe, happy and cared about, and have an adult that they can go and speak to… they are far more likely to be comfortable in achieving at school.”

Nadiya spoke to students who described how the added stress of social media impacts their lives daily, alongside striving for the good grades that they feel their futures depend on. These additional, and often unrealistic, expectations placed on the shoulders of teenage girls and boys can weigh them down at school, and in their lives.

These students found it useful to know there is someone there for them to talk to and that they could ‘get it all out’ in a confidential and non-judgemental space. "The main thing, for any young person experiencing problems," says Jim, "is that they speak to someone, whether that be at school or at home. It's incredibly important that we talk about these feelings rather than bottling them up."

If you need to speak to someone about your mental health, the Samaritans phone line is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also call Childline.

Nadiya: Anxiety and Me is on BBC One on 15th May 2019 at 9pm.

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