Dick Moore, from the Charlie Waller Trust, Delivers Mental Health Sessions at BSB

Mental health advocate Dick Moore visited the British School of Barcelona last week to deliver powerful training sessions to students, parents and staff. This initiative is encompassed in our commitment to raise awareness and knowledge on mental health within our school community, one of the priorities of our new school improvement plan.

Dick Moore is a Mental Health First Aid instructor and speaker for the Charlie Waller Trust and has spoken at over 450 schools, universities, businesses, and conferences both in the UK and overseas. He has given a TEDx talk and a Head Talk and has also appeared on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live, various local BBC radio stations and ITN News with Mary Nightingale.

Dick Moore spent a day providing Mental Health First Aid training to a group of Year 12 students. The students learned the skills needed to have supportive conversations with their friends and how to get help from a responsible and trusted adult. They will now disseminate their knowledge throughout the school taking part in activities such as our peer education programme, where they will deliver a series of lessons on mental health to our younger Secondary students.

‘The course was really interesting, and it is so helpful and reassuring to know what to do when you are in a situation with a person who is struggling with their mental health.’

‘My main takeaway from the course is that, as someone who is not a qualified mental health professional, my job is not to solve people’s problems, but rather be there to listen to them, support them and keep them safe if needed.’

Dick Moore also gave a well-attended talk for parents focusing on the topic of ‘Coping with the Storms of Adolescence’ exploring how young people think, why adolescence is an especially vulnerable time and common issues that can arise when the going gets tough, alongside some top tips for parents to help their children of all ages build resilience and coping strategies.

‘I really appreciated listening to an expert whose expertise came from lived and then learnt experience, not simply from a book. It was his personal insights that really hit home.’

Dick rounded off his visit by delivering an inset session for staff where we reflected on the current situation in both Spain and the UK and how emotional wellbeing and mental health has evolved, before sharing thoughts on adolescent brain development and the relationship between nature, nurture, triggers and emotions. We explored when helpful stress becomes debilitating anxiety, the difference between low mood and depression and the rationale behind self-harm. Dick concluded by suggesting some features of a mentally healthy school, and how schools and teachers can respond to the growing epidemic of mental and emotional ill-health among young people.

‘Dick’s session was a reminder of how vulnerable our young people can be and the important role members of a school community play in their lives. It was clear that his message resonated with every person in the room, and it was reassuring to see that as a community we care deeply about our students.’