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Change. Your. Mind

Written by Nick Ntiruhungwa – a proud member of Change Your Mind

What Change Your Mind is all about

At its core, Change Your Mind is a volunteering programme whereby Year 12 pupils plan and deliver workshops for Year 6 children in their local area; however, it would be unfair to reduce CYM to just that. To me, Change Your Mind is a beacon of opportunity. An opportunity for secondary school pupils to receive and deliver mental health education. An opportunity to develop confidence and teamwork on a weekly basis through workshops. And most importantly, an opportunity to make a difference in an age group that is often overlooked by medical professionals and the general public because when I say ‘mental health’, Year 6 pupils are probably the last thing that come to your mind. This is why we are working in conjunction with Walsall School Nurses to try and make mental health education available for all, through both student presentations, and parent workshops which take place afterwards with the school’s dedicated nurse.

Why I chose to pursue Change Your Mind and what I have learnt so far

As a member of Queen Mary’s Grammar School since Year 7, I have seen the rapid growth of Change Your Mind from a project that started off the back of a competition to a nationally acclaimed volunteer project which is set to deliver to 1600 children and I have pride to say that I have been a part of this.

I joined CYM with the expectations of improving certain skills such as public speaking and teamwork, yet the growth in these skills has still been immense. On top of this, I feel like my professionalism has also developed through etiquette adopted when replying to Mrs McPhee’s emails and also dealing with sensitive topics when delivering to pupils such as puberty. I am sure that these new skills will help me in my future career in the NHS where there is also a strong drive to put mental health on an equal footing to physical health.

In order to deliver the workshops effectively, I have had to improve my knowledge on certain topics which is one of the reasons I chose to do Change Your Mind. These topics include correct nutrition and the idea of ‘digital detoxing’. Specifically, I learnt about the idea of eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables since different fruits and vegetables offer different nutrients; for example, orange fruits and vegetables can boost the immune system. This is something I was completely unware of prior to joining Change Your Mind and I am glad I have been able to share this information in my workshops.

Walsall School Nurses as mentioned before, as a member of Change Your Mind, I work in conjunction with Walsall School Nurses, a service I was not aware of prior to joining. We were spoken to early on by our Walsall School Nurse, Jo Beeman, who made us aware of the facts that every school in Walsall has access to a named school nurse who can provide support and advice on a range of health issues. I found the fact that there is an anonymous texting service particularly interesting as I think this service would be very effective for our age group. However, I think that more people need to be aware of this service which is why we dedicate the end of every workshop to a slide showing a picture and contact information of the school’s school nurse.

The success of Change Your Mind can easily be traced to the impressive drive of Mrs McPhee who works tirelessly to make sure that Change Your Mind becomes bigger and better every year.

Written by Nick Ntiruhungwa (a proud member of Change Your Mind)

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