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Student’s voice to be heard at mental health in education conference

The student voice be represented, giving a 360 degree perspective, at a three-day conference at the University of Gibraltar on Mental Health in Education.

The conference was opened by the minister for education, Gilbert Licudi, and is part of a training programme intended to enhance knowledge and skills to promote mental wellbeing.

It follows a review over the last two years of mental health, social and emotional wellbeing support systems within education.

Dr Pooky Knightsmith, a UK-based child and adolescent mental health specialist and author is back in Gibrlatar to provide the training. The conference has been led by Wayne Barton (Strategic) and Jackie Linares (Operational) who put together a diverse and dynamic programme in collaboration with Dr Knightsmith.

Themes for this training phase have been identified primarily via staff and student feedback, multiagency engagement and statistical analysis conducted during the phased review.

The programme will run over three days with the first two encompassing themes such as School Counselling, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), managing transition to higher education and strategies for supporting students including self-help approaches.

The day-three morning session will concentrate specifically on year 13 students and their transition to higher education, which in most cases involves studying abroad away from family and local support systems.

In the evening, parents for this cohort of students will be invited to a session where Dr Knightsmith will elaborate on topics such as “small ways of making big differences in wellbeing” and “when to worry and what to do next” as well as providing guidance on the proper and efficient management of exam stress.

The event has attracted a significant response, not only from educators and public sector colleagues but also from the private sector, including NGOs and charities.