Last month, Dean Russell MP wrote to all local secondary school inviting their pupils to submit a creative piece of work to reflect on their experience during lockdown and the impact that it had on their mental health. With the wellbeing of children being one of the stated priorities of the local MP, he encouraged students to tap into their personal experiences and reflections. Students sent in a real breadth of work even including a two-minute rap.
In his work advocating on mental health, Watford’s MP was acutely aware that the pandemic has had a huge impact on young people’s mental health and invited them to submit a piece of art to reflect their experience in the form of a poem, poster, painting, video, drawing or short story. As part of his broader work in the area, the Watford MP launched a mental health first aider initiative where he is calling for young people become trained. The scheme, funded by Camelot and in collaboration with the Watford Chamber of Commerce, is part of Mr Russell’s attempts to “transform mental health awareness and support in Watford”. Watford residents can register their interest, here: https://watfordchamber.co.uk/m-h-f-a-2021-lets-get-trained/
The winner has been announced as 13-year-old Lucy from Watford Girls Grammar School. As schools in Watford returned in September, Dean Russell MP has said “overwhelmingly parents, students and teachers alike are extremely pleased to be back. From discussions with local school leaders I know they are doing their utmost to provide wellbeing support to all at this difficult time.”
Dean Russell MP said: “This competition was so important to me and came just a few weeks after the launch of my Mental Health First Aider initiative. It is really important that we encourage everybody to speak about their mental well-being, but I am aware that this can be difficult or uncomfortable for some people. But there are so many other ways in which people can express their thoughts, feelings and emotions and this should be encouraged. World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us all to take check of our own mental health, and to be mindful of those around us.
“I would like to thank everybody that entered, all of the work was of a really high standard, so it was really hard to pick a winner. Some of the poems in particular were fantastic. Well done to all entrants.”