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(UK) NI: Student's plan calls for team to deal with panic attacks, self-harm, suicidal feelings

July 1, 2018, (UK) Belfast Live: Bangor student presents school mental health plan to Stormont https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/health/bangor-student-presents-school-mental-14797677 A Co Down student has presented a plan to tackle mental health in schools to politicians at Stormont. Katie Graden, 17, is an A Level student at Glenlola Collegiate in Bangor. And she has revealed her idea for a ‘mental health pupil leadership team’ to the All Party group on Mental Health. She explained: "The mental health pupil leadership team would take the form of a student council where pupils are elected through an application and interview process…. "They would help the staff to organise relevant training for mental health with local charities and professionals for panic attacks, self harm and suicidal thoughts in particular. “They would also help to update mental health notice boards with information leaflets and emergency contact numbers for pupils who are in crisis to reach out. This team would be trained in confidentiality and therefore, only pass on issues if necessary.” Two-day mental health event is coming to Belfast Her proposals were: • A mental health pupil leadership team for every school in Northern Ireland • A pupil leadership team taking the form of a student council, where pupils are elected through an application and interview process • This team would hold regular meetings with the pastoral care team to propose amendments to the system and discuss recent issues to identify more effective solutions from a student perspective • The team should be trained in confidentiality to allow students to speak freely and any issues would only be passed on if necessary • Students should be shown how to deal with panic attacks, self harm and students experiencing suicidal thoughts in particular, just like students are trained in first aid It would be the responsibility of the mental health pupil leadership team, alongside the staff pastoral care team to organise training sessions and information afternoons with local charities and professionals Mental health notice boards should be accessible with information leaflets, guides and emergency contact numbers to help students reach out.