Students at Ellesmere College have launched a mental health support scheme that focuses on helping students recognise what is detrimental to their health and wellbeing and how to access support.

Mental Health at Ellesmere Support System (MHESS) is a student led initiative by Year 13 student Elin Jones, a team of Sixth Formers and Alex Murphy, who is director of rugby at the College.

He said the now-active scheme is raising awareness about general mental health and wellbeing for students as well as the problems associated with the tighter restrictions students are facing during these unprecedented times of Covid.

“People often find it difficult to identify and discuss things which are worrying them but it’s good to talk - and that is one of the most important messages we need to get across," he added.

“One of the other problems that young people experience is knowing where to go when dealing with these difficult thoughts and emotions.”

The idea behind the scheme was put forward by Elin and Sixth Formers who felt that as well as supporting students with their overall mental health and wellbeing, it was also a safety net system in place to avoid a potentially bad situation from becoming much worse.

Mr Murphy said students would have a number of options of where to go in the support structure, one of which is a student support team providing an approachable source of guidance which acts as a stepping stone between pupils and staff.

He added: “It’s not difficult to understand the risks to mental health - something which can creep up on you without being aware of it, which is what prompted the launch of the scheme.

“We have been living with Coronavirus for many months and there doesn’t look like being an end to it any time soon. It means having to adhere to rules which can have a debilitating effect on health and wellbeing.

“The fact that Ellesmere College has invested in the training of more than 30 pupils and staff, only goes to show how seriously we take the emotional wellbeing of our pupils.

“Training students places them in the ideal position to understand the problems and issues faced by their fellow students and offer guidance in helping them seek help and support in maintaining health and welfare.”

Ellesmere College students also support the annual International Mental Health Day at the College with fundraising events including non-uniform day and cake sales.