Mental health and well-being is a very prevalent topic in the world of today, particularly amongst young people. 1 in 5 young people suffer from a mental illness, that is 20% of our population, many of these young people's issues will go undiagnosed and not talked about, leading them to suffer in silence. Without opening up pathways of communication between people in schools and at home, spreading awareness of mental health problems and how to help those with them, this issue will never be solved.

School can be a very stressful time for many and when coupled with mental ill-health can be very difficult to deal with, it can leave some feeling isolated as they don't know who to turn to or how to deal with what they are feeling.

Fortunately, schools are beginning to recognise the importance of talking about mental health. In an effort to raise awareness, Surbiton High School invited, Dick Moore, a retired teacher and qualified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Associate Trainer for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, to speak to the year 12 students about adolescence, mental health issues and how to cope with them. He spoke about how, after dealing with certain tragic circumstances in his life, he had developed a 'passionate interest in adolescent development and emotional well-being'. His talk was very open, raw and honest, discussing the short comings of mental ill health and other issues that resounded with myself and many other students. He encouraged taking the first step towards finding help and how to do it and that even though it may seem really tough where you are at and how you are feeling now, with the right aid and support, you will get through it even when you don't think you can.

His talk had a significant impact on me and my peers and was a very insightful look into the adolescent mind and mental illness. It prompted conversations among teachers and peers and was a positive step to opening communication pathways.

A student at Surbiton, who had attended the talk summed it up well stating that, "Dick Moore's speech pinpointed a lot of issues that affected both me and many of my peers - I feel it was a really important step in opening up the conversation about mental health in a school environment, with the overarching positive message of 'you will get through this'".

There is still much work to be done in raising awareness of mental health in schools but educating students and teachers on how to navigate mental health problems and find solutions is a step in the right direction.

For more helpful information, guidance or reassurance to those looking to find out more about adolescent mental ill-health, visit Dick Moore's website at: