This year, the 7th February marked ‘Time to Talk Day’, a day where the stigmas surrounding mental health are challenged all over the country. The main message behind the day is the importance of small conversations between friends and family, and the hidden effect these conversations can have! Noticing if a friend is acting differently and asking them if they are okay is such an easy thing to overlook, but sometimes makes all the difference in helping a struggling person feel better. The charity 'Time to Change’ highly pushed an initiative, called ‘Be in your Mate’s Corner’ which highlights this message perfectly, and one we used in the activities taking place at Challoner’s on the day. The main thing we can can take from this important day, is that it does not take a lot to make a huge difference.

Harvey, the Fox Red Labrador

Here at Challoner’s, we fully understand the importance of this message and therefore made sure ‘Time to Talk Day’ was full of ‘talking’! In the morning, Year 12 and 13 students led form group discussions for students in Years 7 and 8. These talks consisted of interactive mental health quizzes, the snappy ‘Be in your Mate’s Corner’ video and general discussions. Furthermore, the Year 12s and 13s got to customise the presentations they were showing, and as a result, KS3 students got really engaged during the discussions, helping the key message stick. Posters from this campaign have been placed up around the school in an effort to remind students of what they learnt on this day over the next few weeks.

At lunch, the school was graced with the presence of Harvey, a seven-year-old fox red labrador, which many students loved meeting! Harvey will hopefully be coming in two days a week from now on, to become the new school welfare dog. Even from his first visit, Harvey sparked many conversations between prefects, teachers and students who perhaps wouldn't have spoken without his presence, hence highlighting the effect a welfare dog has in a school environment. Furthermore, this Monday another dog called Duck (a seven-year-old border collie) came in as well and was greeted with a similar reaction. Duck will hopefully come in once a week and therefore, it is likely we may have two welfare dogs after half term - a very exciting prospect!