Time 2 Talk is a 3-year innovative and creative project that challenges the stigma surrounding young people’s mental health issues and creates a template for a whole school approach to emotional well being. In November 2015, Time 2 Talk was awarded the HSJ Award in the category Innovation.
The project was born out of concern in the community in response to a violent attack near the school. It was felt an intervention needed to be created as a long term solution. deep:black led on the delivery of the project used anonymous case studies from young people who had experienced emotional distress to develop a short piece of drama with a group of students at Park View. The play was performed in all year group assemblies and audiences had the opportunity to get involved in the action, changing the outcome for the main character.
The play was then filmed, providing a framework for specially designed PSHE lessons. Students also had the opportunity to train to become peer mentors, learning how they can support the emotional well being of other students in the school.
‘Creativity has been at the heart of Time 2 Talk. We knew that in order to truly challenge the stigma around mental health in school the project had to offer students something exciting and creative that they could really engage in…It’s been a real privilege to witness young people’s personal and social development over the course of the project and to see at first hand the impact on students of performing in assembly right through to being able to mentor their peers.’ Katharine Yates, Co-Director, deep:black
So far, 1000 students have seen the forum theatre performances in assemblies and almost half of these students have participated in dedicated PHSE lessons addressing some of the issues raised in the performance. 50 students were trained and supported as part of the project to become peer mentors and continue to mentor other students at the school. The success of the project has inspired a further commitment to the mental health and emotional well-being of students and on going staff training is offered to continue to develop this ground breaking approach.
‘With the recent publication of the Future in Mind report by the mental health taskforce, there has been a growing awareness of the need for radical change in how we all provide support for young people regarding emotional wellbeing and mental health. Time 2 Talk is a project that offers an approach that works for the whole school community. But the real strength of this project lies in the fact that it is genuinely about empowering young people to feel able to support themselves and each other, and with that understanding, allow staff and parents to feel more able to offer or direct young people to support that is accessible and meaningful.’ Dr Nick Barnes, Young People’s Psychiatrist, Haringey AOT.
Rohan, Time 2 Talk participant, Year 12 said: ‘Now I’m much more aware of the different mental health problems there can be and how to talk to people if they need support. If other people knew how to help people with problems like that it would just be a better community for everyone.’
Time 2 Talk was supported by Haringey Public Health and was the result of diverse organisations working together to create a unique offer – a peer led, arts-based whole school approach to emotional well being. The HSJ judges praised the ‘impressive leadership’ on the project and were impressed by the level of peer involvement. The project saw successful multi agency partnership between deep:black Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust, Youth on Youth Media, Young Minds as well as the staff and students at Park View School.