WATCH: Major school revamp sees ‘stress-busting’ space built
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Exam stress and family break-ups are among concerns secondary school pupils can share in a new ‘mental health space’ built inside an Ipswich academy.
Students at Westbourne Academy said they wanted access to a private, calm, and relaxing space - and so teachers granted their wish and created a newly designed room, set aside for discussing issues affecting students' mental wellbeing.
Funding for the project came from the Ipswich Opportunity Area scheme, which aims to ensure all young people in Ipswich can fulfil their potential, regardless of their background. Westbourne is one of 18 schools in Ipswich under the government-backed initiative.
This new project saw an old classroom completely transformed with furniture and decorations, which assistant principal Cathy Cook said aims to "represent a homely environment where pupils can feel comfortable".
Launching the new space, called a 'Support With Individuals' Mental Health' or 'SWIM' room, assistant principal Cathy Cook explained: "Divided into two areas, one blue and one green, the 'SWIM' room links with our mental health initiative after our research showed pupils wanted access to a private calm, comfortable and relaxing space."
You may also want to watch:
The blue room is for small group interventions and will host sessions from charities such as 4YP and the YMCA.
Meanwhile, the green room will be more for one-to-one meetings with students either by the school counsellor or outside organisations. Exam stress sessions will also be delivered here.
- 1 Two arrested after man assaulted in Ipswich
- 2 'Microshop' selling only American candy opens in Ipswich
- 3 Jailed in Suffolk: The criminals put behind bars this week
- 4 Criminals confess to nearly 400 offences thanks to specialist police unit
- 5 What are the best curry houses in Ipswich?
- 6 Ipswich tech firm warns of spyware scare on Apple devices
- 7 School in Ipswich takes 'decisive action' to make rapid improvements
- 8 Suffolk to miss worst of thunderstorms - but heavy downpours still expected
- 9 First look at full schedule for Sound City Ipswich music festival
- 10 Can you spot yourself in our Copdock Motorcycle Show gallery?
The project was born out of the academy's own mental health strategy, which has seen a team of four mental health first aiders created.
School counsellor Stephen Tooke, who works with 4YP, said: "It is extremely important to have private, comfortable space in which we can support pupils to deal with challenging situations in school.
"A year 10 student, who is part of a small group provision and also accesses the room as a drop in, said it is calming, and feels more like home. You can tell someone how you feel."
Another student, in year 8, has autism spectrum disorder. They described the room as being "spacious, and having colours which are relaxing and calming."