Headteacher’s December Blog
‘I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What’s to be ashamed of? I went through a really rough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that.’ – author J.K. Rowling
There is, quite naturally, a buzz about our school this week – it’s the final week before we break for the Christmas holidays, and, as it should be, it’s a time of happiness for many, the chance for students (and the staff!) to recharge their batteries for a couple of weeks, surrounded by loved ones. Lots of staff and students will all be wearing Christmas jumpers on Friday to get us in the holiday mood.
Yet while that’s true for many of us, not everyone will be looking forward to the next couple of weeks quite so eagerly. For those who suffer from anxiety and/or depression, the festive period can be a particularly difficult time. In many cases, just seeing ‘everyone’ else enjoying themselves can exacerbate the situation. These are feelings that aren’t restricted to adults – young people experience depression and anxiety too.
A couple of months ago, a survey conducted by the charity Action for Children found that one third of the 5,500 British teenagers (aged 15-18) who were surveyed said they were suffering mental health issues, with the most common being feelings of depression or anxiety, displaying restless sleep and an inability to shake off negative feelings. These young people said they couldn’t focus on what they were doing or felt that everything was ‘an effort’.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it can make you feel very lonely and isolated, and often embarrassed or scared to ask for help. As JK Rowling says, it is nothing to be ashamed about. It may feel like you’re the only one experiencing such issues, but that is clearly not the case. What is important is that you speak to someone about how you feel – it might be a family member, a friend, a teacher – and share your concerns. We also have a Listening Service; trained staff who are there to help and support you. If you think it will be useful, speak to your Tutor, or a teacher you get on well with and a referral can be made.
For those who don’t suffer from depression or anxiety, we can all keep an eye on our friends, to make sure they are OK – and offer a friendly ear should they want to talk about anything. Often, just talking about something, getting it out into the open, can be a big help and a step in the right direction.
Whatever you may be feeling this week, I wish everyone connected with our school a peaceful festive period and my best wishes to all of you for the year ahead. Take care everyone.