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Bower Park Academy students break mental health stigmas with video campaign

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 November 2019

Bower Park Academy in Collier Row encouraged students to break mental health stigmas with a video campaign. Picture: Bower Park Academy

Bower Park Academy in Collier Row encouraged students to break mental health stigmas with a video campaign. Picture: Bower Park Academy

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A secondary school is launching a self esteem campaign for girls following the success of its mental health video campaign for boys.

Bower Park Academy, Havering Road, Collier Row, launched the #BowerBoysBraveit campaign at the start of the school year.

Boys shared what activities they do to make themselves feel better when they're feeling low.

Teachers Maria Howard and Jessica Dawe managed the campaign.

Mrs Howard told the Recorder: "We filmed on inset day so were worried numbers would be low, however there was a great turnout with students showing enthusiasm and contributing their own ideas towards the campaign.

Bower Park Academy in Collier Row encouraged students to break mental health stigmas with a video campaign. Picture: Bower Park AcademyBower Park Academy in Collier Row encouraged students to break mental health stigmas with a video campaign. Picture: Bower Park Academy

"As teachers we often hear our students use phrases such as 'Man Up!' and 'Don't be a girl' therefore we wanted to challenge these stereotypes and encourage boys to express their emotions even if it makes them feel vulnerable, alongside making them show skills of resilience in times of struggle.

"Due to the video's success with our students, parents and on social media, we have decided to launch a new campaign giving our girls a voice too, but instead focusing on raising self-esteem and the importance of female comradeship."

Vice principal at Bower Park Academy Eddie Aylett said that following the campaign more of the male students have been willing to talk to the school's counsellor and share when they feel under pressure or frustrated.

He said: "We found that our male students were not wanting to express their emotions, and often felt that saying how they felt 'made them feel less of a man' and so we wanted to start a campaign to help them realise emotions are completely normal, we all have them and the important thing is to talk about it with others."

Charlie Gray shares what he does when he's feeling stressed for the #BowerBoysBraveit campaign. Picture: Bower Park AcademyCharlie Gray shares what he does when he's feeling stressed for the #BowerBoysBraveit campaign. Picture: Bower Park Academy

The school's new campaign will be called GirlPowerGirlBower.

Mrs Howard added: "The campaign has had a positive impact because it has built a stronger sense of community across year groups.

"Also we have seen lots of parents interested in the campaign as they find their sons quiet and reserved at times therefore they see the value and have praised Bower Park's initiative to discuss something so important yet often considered taboo."

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