Oakleaf Partners with George Abbot School to Tackle Mental Health Wellbeing for Children and Young People

Press Release: Oakleaf Enterprise has partnered with Guildford’s George Abbot School to provide counselling for students’ mental health and well-being.

Progression through the school years is a time when students will face rapid changes in their lives; they will also have to cope with many different situations and unfamiliar challenges such as exams, relationships and the other pressures of growing up. Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, stress and conduct disorder can occur even in a very young age. The statistics show that one in ten children and young people suffer from mental health problems, which are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.

The mental health wellbeing of children and young people is still a sensitive topic and very rarely discussed at the dinner table. Consequently, 75% of adult mental health problems are present before the age of 18. With these numbers, it is apparent that there needs to be more of an emphasis on tackling mental health problems within this group, and it should be a key priority in our society.

George Abbot School, a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status in Burpham, north-east of the town centre of Guildford, has a dedicated Care Team that is aware of this increasing problem and has been proactive in tackling the issue. Six counsellors who are completing their psychology PhD from London Metropolitan, Roehampton and Surrey universities are currently involved in providing consultations at the school, alongside counselling clients at Oakleaf. The consultations at George Abbot take place for 12 hours per week and will last from 6 to 12 weeks. The program aims to raise awareness about children and young peoples’ mental health and to help make the school’s environment safer, friendlier and more welcoming.

Oakleaf  has been supporting people with mental health issues and raising awareness of the problem in the community for more than 18 years. “We are happy that people are becoming more aware about mental health problems” says Clive Stone, CEO of Oakleaf Enterprise; “However, many things still need to be done. One of them is to ensure that children and young people with poor mental health get all the support they need. We are proud to have partnered with George Abbot School to offer support to the students’ mental health wellbeing.”

Assistant Headteacher of Student Development and Designated Safeguarding Lead, Rob Giles commented: “We really appreciate the help that the Oakleaf has provided George Abbot School. The counsellors have allowed many students to access services that they would not normally have been able to. As a school we have seen an increase in the amount of young people with poor mental health. We are committed to  doing all we can to help those who need it and also to promote good understanding of mental health with our students.”

Oakleaf and George Abbot School’s partnership is a fundamental step towards addressing the needs of children and young people with mental health problems. Partnerships such as these will increase understanding, but more support is still needed throughout the community.