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Dixons Academies Trust

Students are breaking down the barriers to help improve the mental health provision for young people

Posted 7th March 2023

Last November, students from five multi-academy trusts including Dixons Academies Trust, ran a listening campaign to understand what key social issues were most important to young people in the city, listening to over 10,000 students from 24 schools within the district. One of the top themes that was voted to focus on in 2023 was young people’s mental health. The students have already met with Bradford District NHS Trust, Age of Wonder programme and the Young in Covid team, where they committed to work together to improve young people’s mental health in the district.

The students are part of Bradford Citizens, an alliance of schools and organisations in the city that works with young people to identify and push for change on key issues facing them today, using community organising to develop leaders and address social issues. Bradford Citizens is part of Citizens UK which is an alliance of civil society organisations, including schools, faith groups, community organisations and charities. Citizens UK works to build working accountable relationships with those who hold power.

Last week, the same students, met with Bradford council’s wellbeing board who agreed to work with Bradford Citizens to map the mental health provision currently available in schools and collaborate on filling the gaps. Students from schools including Dixons Trinity Academy, spoke with great confidence and courage around their own personal story of dealing with mental health and how this affects them day to day.

BBC Radio Leeds picked up on the fantastic work the students are doing to generate more support for young people with mental health. Listen to the full recording here.

Jim Lauder, Trust Civic Responsibility Lead, Dixons Academies Trust who was part of both the wellbeing board meeting and the BBC Radio Leeds interview said: “Students are not all the same, but they all deserve the same chances in life. This is about fairness and equity. We have listened again to students in our schools, and we have learnt what mental health challenges mean for them.”

“Research shows that mental health for young people in Bradford has suffered since the pandemic and therefore further discussion around mental health needs to be normalised and we need to break down the barriers so that we can establish the support we need to offer in our schools. Young people don’t necessarily know how to deal with their issues or know who they can talk to and that’s where we, as school leaders, hold a lot of responsibility to make a change in this area.”