Stress LESS Champions Commended for Promoting Positive Mental Health

Secondary school and Sixth Form students (aged 14-18) across 5 schools in Cambridgeshire have been commended for their dedication to promoting positive mental health in their schools and tackling stigma amongst their peers.

At a celebration evening on Friday 5th July at The Cresset in Peterborough, attended by Mayor, Councillor Gul Nawaz, working in partnership with Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach’s (NEACO) Take Your Place project, we honoured the contribution made by the students to our Stress LESS campaign over this academic year.

Funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, our Stress LESS campaign aims to engage young people (aged 12-18) across Cambridgeshire in utilising and promoting positive strategies to manage their stress and wellbeing. The campaign’s #Take5challenge encourages students to change five small things in their lives, over five weeks, by creating their own Stress LESS Action Plan to prevent the pressures of exams from overwhelming them.

Aly Anderson, CEO of CPSL Mind said, “Fifty per cent of long-term mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75 per cent by age 24. While mental health problems develop for a wide variety of different reasons, overwhelming stress is a key risk factor so it is important that we equip our young people to manage the stresses they face, build resilience and encourage them to seek help at an early stage if they are struggling.

Stress LESS seeks to influence this by creating positive, supportive peer environments amongst young people. The Champions we are celebrating are a shining example of this and we are extremely proud of the contributions they have made.”

Taking on the role of Stress LESS Champions, the students, from Cromwell Academy, Nene Park Academy, Neale Wade Academy, Ken Stimpson Community School and Thomas Deacon Academy, recognised at the celebration evening, have been busy promoting the Stress LESS message with their peers. From creating mental health displays around their schools and sharing personal experiences to offering Stress LESS training to fellow students, they have had a huge impact in promoting positive mental health.

Liane Wilkinson (aged 18), a Stress LESS Champion from Nene Park Academy in Peterborough said “Stress LESS has helped me immensely in understanding all areas around mental health. I have been able to now give advice and support to many people who are struggling. Stress LESS doesn’t only help you help others; it can also help you with your own things like exam stress!!”

Beka Avery, County Coordinator for Cambridgeshire leading the team delivering the Take Your Place project on behalf of NEACO, said “Feedback from staff and students in the schools we partner with points to poor mental health being one of the biggest barriers to young people fulfilling their potential through higher education. It was clear to us that to support more young people to progress, we needed to equip them with the skills and knowledge to maintain their own good mental health and to use their voices to promote awareness for the benefit of the whole school.

Implementing CPSL Mind’s Stress LESS campaign is a really important part of our strategy to increase progression to higher education and we’re delighted to honour the achievements of the young Champions we’ve worked alongside at this event with their families and friends.”

The celebration evening follows hot-on-the-heels of the Stress LESS 2019 conference, which we hosted alongside the Take Your Place project on Monday 1st July at Anglia Ruskin University in Peterborough, as the campaign continues to expand further across the 25 schools which NEACO work with in Cambridgeshire. The conference offered the opportunity for Stress LESS Champions to mix across schools, develop their ideas for the next academic year and listen to expert speakers on mental health.

For further information about Stress LESS including how you can get involved, please see https://www.cpslmind.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigns/stress-less/ or email campaigns@cpslmind.org.uk. You can also follow the campaign on Facebook and Instagram, sharing your #Take5challenge strategies.

For more information about local mental health services for Children and Young People in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough visit https://www.keep-your-head.com/cyp