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PoeMH: Poetry and Mental Health Schools Project

PoeMH: Poetry and Mental Health Schools Project 24 May 2018

The mental health of young people is a growing concern amongst schools, both locally and nationally. With many teachers and parents, noticing a rise in anxiety, depression and other emotional issues.  A recent project by The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre and the Warblington Partnership Board, a group of schools and organisations from within the central Havant area, aims to highlight some of these issues that young people face today and explore how we can begin to tackle them.

This unique project brought together students (ranging from infant through to secondary school ages) from seven local schools to work with Joseph Coelho, a fantastic published children’s author and poet. Students explored emotions that young people today feel regularly and wrote poems expressing this. These poems were the building block used to create two short films produced by professional film-production company Millstream Productions.

The films include the poetry that the young people wrote, alongside animations that bring the words to life. The message of these powerful films encourage any young person who is dealing with negative emotions to speak to an adult they trust. These films will be used as a tool to discuss the topic of Mental Health in schools and the local community.

As a result of this project and talking about mental health, these young people are now mental health ambassadors within their schools and know how to help themselves and others.

Faith Davies, Participation Officer, at The Spring explains how the project started:

“The Spring has been supporting the Warblington Partnership Board’s great work around Emotional and Mental Health. We, as an organisation, recognise that the Arts can be an effective way to explore difficult topics with children and young people so The Spring and Warblington Partnership Board felt that poetry would be a great tool to explore the topic. This project aimed to use the ideas and experiences of local children to create a relevant Mental Health message they could share with their peers and the wider community.” 

The films were premiered at a special private event at The Spring in May 2018 and can be viewed online here:

This project has been funded by Councillor Jackie Branson, Arts Council England, Hampshire County Council, Havant Borough Council and D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.

For further information about this project or about The Spring’s work in the community, please contact Faith Davies, Participation Officer, at faithd@thespring.co.uk