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H.E.L.P. is here: students set up mental health charity-in-the-making
We are a mental health charity-in-the-making based at Westminster Academy. Growing up, we realised that people who suffer from mental health problems are stereotyped and do not receive the support that they need to cope.
We also noticed that mental health problems are common in young people because of the stress while being a student. We are here to support you, anonymously. The money would be used to: maintain a website; create leaflets and posters and also afford primary school workshops. We would hugely appreciate any donations, no matter how small.
The origins of H.E.L.P.
Last academic year Westminster Academy participated in City Pitch, as part of the Mayor’s Fund for London. We had to come up with a social action project to help people in the community. Our group chose to focus on mental health, a hot topic in the media currently. The group is particularly passionate about the topic and won the first stage which consisted of a presentation to external judges and our year group.
The next stage meant creating a video about our project. Mr Rahman helped us with the editing, and the judges must have liked our interpretation as WA was one of the six (of 12) schools to go through to the final.
Prior to the final we had to do lots of preparation. Our business teacher helped, and we put together prompt cards and a PowerPoint. Dr Rana gave us lots of constructive criticism and we also had excellent support from people at City Pitch who visited to teach us how to present and make the speech structured and professional.
The final meant we were invited to pitch at City Hall. We went through practice rounds in morning then had lunch on the balcony, which was really cool as you can see all of London from there. We were practising our lines in between mouthfuls of sandwich as after lunch came the presentations. The presentations were quite nerve-wracking, particularly as we had to wait to go on second to last. First we watched everyone and heard their feedback. We were pleased because our group was the only one who had built something online (via Firefly) which we had available to hand to show judges. We were particularly aiming to win over one specific judge as we had one of his videos on our web page. Finally we received the verdict: the judges liked the project and we were awarded a cheque for £1,500, which was surprising as we didn't think we'd done that well. Afterwards we went to thank judges, and Sir Stephen O'Brien CBE gave us his business card and said to contact him.
This year our group is working after school with Ms Sullivan and Mr Lingard to use the funding to develop the project and branch out to the community. WA students can visit our page in the Health and Wellbeing area of Firefly.
By F Cosgrove, Year 9