The mental wellbeing of young people is at the heart of the Health and Wellbeing agenda at Dollar Academy. In July 2020, the charity Young Minds held a survey where 80% of respondents believed that the coronavirus pandemic negatively impacted their mental health. This statistic indicates that the need for support is increasing within the school environment, and Dollar’s Mental Health Ambassadors are just one aspect of the school’s pragmatic approach to pupil wellbeing.
The values of ‘Work Hard’, ‘Be Kind’ and ‘Get Involved’ are central to the ethos of Dollar and our staff recognise that excellent pastoral care makes a vital contribution to the intellectual and social development of each individual pupil.
Our Form VI Ambassadors have all undergone a two-day training course, where they learn the key messages of becoming a Mental Health Ambassador. These messages include how to offer support without judgement, pupil equality and diversity and the wellbeing indicators of GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child).
Our Ambassadors all work closely with pupils in Form II, where they lead sessions about the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress and other topics related to mental health. Alongside this, our Ambassadors also have a drop-in session in P23 on Monday and Wednesday lunchtimes. This is an opportunity for any pupil, regardless of year group, to come and chat to an Ambassador in a calm, quiet space. These sessions will also involve relaxed activities and any pupil at Dollar is welcome to join.
As our Ambassadors are in Form VI, they have lived experiences of changes in friendships, school transition periods, subject choices and exams and are available to offer support through any challenging time a pupil may be facing. Trained specifically to give a listening ear, our Ambassadors will contact an appropriate member of staff if they are at all concerned about a pupil’s wellbeing.
Posters of our Ambassadors are placed around the school campus, ensuring all pupils can learn who these trained Form VI pupils are. As well as benefitting the wider school community, the training widens the skill-set of the pupils involved and opens up opportunities in the world beyond school.
Dollar Academy has an extensive Health and Wellbeing approach. To find out more about it, please visit our Health and Wellbeing page here.
You can watch our video on Health and Wellbeing here.