Student postcard project combats loneliness for Mental Health Awareness Week

CROMPTON House students were ‘thinking happy’, getting creative and reaching out to others to combat loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Through their #WriteASmile postcard project, students at the Shaw school have so far hand-written over more than cheerful postcards, filling them with inspirational quotes, thoughts, poems and cheeky jokes to raise a smile for both the writer and the reader.

The cards have been delivered to pupils at local primary schools, patients at The Royal Oldham Hospital and residents in local care homes as well as to their teachers and each other.

#WriteASmile Ambassadors Kaya and Maddison with their cards

To encourage their peers to take part in the initiative, students had lots of fun starring in their own promotional video, which premiered on YouTube and was beamed to every class in the school.

 Claire Cullen, Librarian at Crompton House who has co-ordinated the #WriteaSmile project, said: “We were bowled over by the creativity of our Book Council who came up with this lovely idea.

“It’s a brilliant way of highlighting the positive effects that reading and writing have on our mental health and wellbeing.

“Sending and receiving letters and postcards can alleviate feelings of sadness and isolation and it’s important that in a world of emails and texts, children understand how powerful it can be to pick up a pen and send their good wishes to another person – even if it’s just a few words.”

Y8 student Kaya Read, who came up with the idea behind #WriteASmile, said: “We need to look after our mental health every day, not just in Mental Health Awareness Week.

“We are going to carry on sending our messages out as we want to help put an end to loneliness in our school and wider community.

“I know some of the students studying for exams really liked getting cards – it’s nice to spread some positivity. We loved making our own video too and hope it encourages the whole school to take part.”

An example of a card written by a student

Lynsey Macfarlane, Assistant Headteacher of Teaching and Learning & Emotional and Mental Health Lead at Crompton House, added: “It is so important to raise awareness of mental health; feelings of loneliness are often hidden and people suffer terribly in silence.

“The #WriteASmile postcard project has encouraged our students to let others know they are not alone. We are very proud of them for coming up with such a great idea.

“The children have written some brilliant messages and I am sure everyone who has received a card will appreciate the sentiment.”

Mental Health Awareness Week ran this year from May 9-13. Find out more online: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

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