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Beth benefiting from Burnley's support in school

10 Oct 2019
Beth and Katy Burnley

On World Mental Health Day, see how Clarets' project is helping pupils to open up about their problems and develop strategies to help

For Year 11 pupil Beth of West Craven High School in Lancashire, college had been on the horizon. But last year anxiety and depression were affecting her at a crucial stage in her education.

Struggling to sleep and having regular panic attacks, she was often arriving late and was rarely completing a full week of classes.

"Had I not received the help I needed I would not be able to stay in lessons and some days would not be able to attend school at all," she tells BurnleyFC in the Community's official website.

Since March, Beth has been meeting with Katy Westwell, a full-time psychological wellbeing practitioner placed in the school by Burnley FC in the Community through their Schools' Mental Wellbeing Project.

"She always takes the time to listen and support where she can," says Beth.

"She's supported me in lessons that I have found difficult to attend in the past, and has spoken to members of staff to ensure adequate provision was made for me.

'Massive change'

"We've worked together on developing strategies to support me with my anxiety and depression and she's helped me when I've been having a panic attack.

"These strategies have helped me to attend school on a full-time basis, something I was unable to do last year."

It has been five months since Beth last had a panic attack at school.

"I now see a completely different young lady," says Katy.

"Teachers have noticed a massive change in her wellbeing and say she now walks into the classroom with her head high and a smile, and isn't afraid to ask questions and seek support when needed."

Wider picture

West Craven is just one of the schools benefiting from Burnley In The Community's project, which is supported by the Premier League, the Professional Footballers’ Association, Burnley Borough Council and East Lancashire CCG, and aims to support young people with their mental wellbeing.

Within a six-week period between March and April 2019, 176 students received help, with 914 hours of support delivered.

Overall, 15.7 per cent of students expressed an improvement in their mood, while there was a 7.8 per cent decrease in self-harm, and 9.8 per cent said they were having fewer negative thoughts.

"I would definitely say to young people that, should they need to, have the confidence to speak to an adult," says Beth.

"Anxiety and depression should not be seen as a weakness, and help needs to be accessible for all."

Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year. If you or someone you know are having thoughts and feelings that are making day-to-day life difficult, it’'s always OK to ask for help .

Also in this series

Part 1: Watford sessions lifting James' mental wellbeing

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