Schools’ first Wellbeing conference tackles mental health

July 12, 2022

An appreciative audience at the first Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools Wellbeing Conference, heard about the importance of learning how to tackle mental health issues by being informed, direct and not being afraid to ask for help.
Pat Sowa, a former Headteacher, told the moving story of her late son Dom.
She encouraged everyone to “put their positive pants on” to raise the awareness of suicide prevention, the importance of Mental Health First Aid, and how asking direct questions about how people feel and, most importantly, listening can give an opportunity for a safe space for people to really open up.
Ian Morris, the Head of Wellbeing at Wellington College and author of Learning to Ride Elephants, engaged the audience with his optimistic, practical and playful approach to wellbeing.
He says that both staff and parents are teachers of wellbeing and how educational philosophy must be geared towards helping children flourish and live well not just focused on retention of information.
Tom Dunning, a known as the mental health runner, described his story of battling with severe mental illness and his personal turning points.
Tom has completed marathons, works in engineering, is a retained fire-fighter, has authored a book and delivers talks to help raise awareness of the importance of both physical and mental health.
Organised by Miss Sarah Fowler, Head of Wellbeing at Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, the conference was one of several events which aimed to inform, educate and provide space to discuss issues around wellbeing.
Miss Fowler said: “Only by openly discussing issues and signposting to relevant sources of support, can we hope to change societal attitudes and offer hope to so many who suffer in silence.
“It was a pleasure to be able to host the inaugural Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools Wellbeing Conference.
“Our three speakers were incredibly engaging, informative, and thought provoking throughout.
“Pat Sowa, Ian Morris and Thomas Dunning were inspirational and the question-and-answer session at the end was a wonderful way to further explore the content of their talks and associated issues.”