BBC Look North visited Upper Wharfedale School on Monday 7th January as part of our ongoing social, emotional and mental health work (SEMH) alongside Chloe Bellerby.

Chloe, from Harrogate, is 18 and is currently on a football scholarship in the USA. We contacted her last year after we heard her story on BBC Look North, following which she came and delivered workshops for students and parents as part of our mental health awareness week, telling them that ‘it’s ok to not be ok’.

When Chloe started secondary school in Harrogate she knew that something wasn’t right but did not feel comfortable to talk to anyone about her feelings. Unfortunately, these emotions led to her attempting to take her own life in August 2017. Chloe’s talk to the students and parents at UWS in June 2018 was very moving and she is an inspirational role model.

Our work with Chloe is just one part of Upper Wharfedale’s ongoing SEMH work. All staff received training from Compass Buzz in April 2018 and we have four staff who have completed the two day Mental Health First Aid course. This has enabled us to establish a dedicated SEMH team. There are a further 9 students who have undertaken level 2 courses raising awareness of mental health problems.

Mental health is a regular topic for assemblies and students have access to numerous self help and resilience strategies around school and in their planners. This is encouraging a culture where ‘it is ok to not be ok’.

Upper Wharfedale is currently working towards the Carnegie Centre of Excellence Mental Health in School Award as we recognise that education is about the whole student and outcomes will not be achieved unless student well being is a primary focus.

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