Shining a Spotlight on Mental Health
We recently sat down for a conversation with Morgan, an Upper Sixth Crake student who led an assembly on mental health within his House, and who is now planning a series of assemblies on the same topic for the wider school.
What encouraged you to lead a series of assemblies on mental health?
Well, for me, it has been an important topic for a while now. I feel like in the house assemblies and school assemblies we have, we don’t always go into the depth that I wanted to with it. Talking to some of my peers about issues surrounding mental health, no-one really understood some of the areas I looked into. I just thought it would be a great opportunity as a Sixth Former to lead Crake in this area into being more open to talking about mental health.
What has the response from your peers been like so far after hearing you speak, both in the House and more widely?
After the assembly to Crake, there was some really strong appreciation for it. I was really nervous going into it because I was worried that people wouldn’t take it seriously or wouldn’t understand the topics that I was talking about but afterwards a lot of people from all different years came up to me and said, thank you, that was really useful. They’ve even been talking to me about how they are feeling. It’s really important. Some of the reactions I got from the older students were just incredible because a lot of people took it on and that was really what I was hoping for.
Do you feel nervous speaking in front of people? Have your theatre studies at Bloxham helped you to prepare for public speaking?
My theatre studies have helped me to a certain degree, yes. I did Public Speaking instead of an EPQ and it has been very useful. I think one of the most useful pieces of advice I was given was that the nerves I feel before going on are just me being excited. I’m not going to deny it and say I don’t feel nervous because I do. Whenever I go on, I feel really nervous and slightly sick, but I just know that, at the end of it, I would feel bad looking back and thinking that I quit doing something because I was nervous. I look back now and I’m happy that I was nervous because it shows that I care. I think if anyone is thinking of doing something similar and is nervous, they should still go for it.
Now that you are in your final year, what have been your highlights from your time at Bloxham?
I joined in Third Form in 2018. I think one of my biggest highlights was in my first year, when I was picked to do the House Debating and it felt like such a unique experience that was offered because my previous schools were quite small. They didn’t really offer the same experiences as here, where you get to do Model United Nations or House Debating. Having the option to take part in those makes you feel that you are part of a group of people who are all interested in this type of thing. It’s wonderful that school offers that.
Mental health is clearly a topic which is very close to your heart. Do your plans for after leaving Bloxham include further work in this area?
After I leave, I would like to go into law, and one area which I’ve looked at is human rights law and some of that does encompass mental health. I think that this can be intertwined with my future career plans. I’m hoping to go to Warwick University as it has got a great course.
Thank you so much Morgan for chatting with us. We wish you the best of luck with your university applications.
A few weeks after this interview, we went along to the first of Morgan’s assemblies in front of the wider school. He spoke very powerfully about a diverse range of topics, including the importance of men feeling that they can express emotions and cry, and the value of asking twice when we think a friend is struggling. Mr Brassington, Morgan’s tutor, shared his thoughts following the first assembly:
Morgan’s assembly exploring mental health was highly impressive. He used both research and his personal insight to capture its complexities whilst offering a number of important strategies. Morgan used his skill in public speaking to convey his message emphatically. He was brave to volunteer to speak in front of the whole school and his contribution is a great example of student leadership.
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