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Schools set to ‘Talk out Loud’ about Mental Health as Challenge Tessa ‘kicks off’

14 January 2019

An annual County-wide event to help raise awareness among young people about mental health and mental health stigma is set to take place on Friday 15th February 2019.

As part of the NHS and Northamptonshire County Council Talk Out Loud Programme; Northamptonshire schools will be taking part in mental health awareness day by getting involved in activities to raise awareness of mental health stigma in lots of interesting, fun and inclusive ways.

And to ‘kick-off’ the lead-up to Northamptonshire’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Tessa Parkinson - one of the Programme Managers for the Talk out Loud Programme in Northamptonshire - has been challenged to visit as many schools as possible before the day. This started on Saturday 12 January, from the PTS Academy Stadium, home of Northampton Town Football Club, and Tessa is now on her way visiting over 100 schools, getting her white trousers stamped by students, having photos taken with staff and pupils, delivering key mental health messages as well as resources for schools to use on February 15.

Northampton Town Football Club proudly supported the campaign by welcoming schools from across the county at the Carlisle United game. Leader of Northamptonshire County Council Cllr Matt Golby, Northampton Town Footballer Camron McWilliams & Mike Simons from the Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Programme presented awards to schools who have demonstrated their commitment to positive mental health and wellbeing.

The following schools were presented with awards: Brackley Junior School (Bronze), Moulton Primary School (Gold), Park Junior School, Wellingborough (Gold), Upton Meadows Primary School (Gold), Kingsley Primary School (Silver), Newbottle & Charlton Primary School (Bronze); and Yardley Gobion Primary (Bronze).

Tessa Parkinson, Programme Manager at the Mental Health Stigma Programme, said “Challenge Tessa has become a regular and popular kick-off to Northamptopnshire Mental Health Awareness Day. Northamptonshire remains strongly committed to ensuring that young people have the confidence and understanding to acknowledge they have a mental health need, without fear of stigma, and know where to go for help and support. I am really looking forward to visiting so many schools in the lead-up to the day and am encouraged by the number of schools getting involved. We would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Northampton Town Football Club for their support and commitment to reducing mental health stigma in Northamptonshire.”

Jane Pitchfork, Public Health Commissioner at Northamptonshire County Council said “Our Talk out Loud Programme aims to get across to young people that we all have mental health and mental health needs. And sometimes we need help and support with our mental health and that’s ok – we encourage them to TALK OUT LOUD about mental health and initiatives such as Challenge Tessa and Northamptonshire Mental Health Awareness Day help to start some of these conversations.”

Kelvin Thomas, Chairman of Northampton Town Football Club added, “We are proud to support the NHS and Northamptonshire County Council’s Talk Out Loud Programme. We were delighted to be able to welcome so many schools from the programme to the Carlisle United game last Saturday and we hope they enjoyed themselves. As a club we work hard to support as many charities and good causes as we can. We know how powerful football can be in breaking down barriers and removing stigmas in many areas and we hope, by showing our support for this campaign, it will encourage those who may need help or assistance with their mental health to Talk Out Loud and seek support.”

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