Young people encouraged to connect to boost mental wellbeing

13th March 2023

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) engaged with local schools to highlight the importance of connection for mental wellbeing.

Dorset HealthCare’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service MHSTs work with schools across the county to help children feel more resilient, giving them with techniques to look after themselves and strategies to help them cope better with life’s ups and downs.

And during this year’s awareness week, the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area MHST visited Bayside Primary School in Poole to deliver a workshop about connecting with others.

As well as chatting with the children about their mental health, the team’s activities included creating paper chains highlighting all the ways pupils can connect as class members.

And the Weymouth, Portland and West MHST attended an awareness-raising event for parents and carers, hosted by St Osmund’s Middle School in Dorchester.

On social media the team created a challenge, encouraging children and young people to try and connect with others in different ways throughout the week. They also gave hints and tips on how to engage in group or team activities to meet like-minded people and make friends.

Nova Bovaird, Clinical Lead (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) for the MHST service, said:

“A lack of meaningful connection is a key driver in loneliness and anxiety. So it is important that young people connect and establish friendships which can allow them to support one another as well as help positive mental wellbeing.

“The week was a perfect opportunity for us to share what we do with the wider community and encourage children to connect with people of all ages in a variety of circumstances.”

During the week, the team also encouraged young people and their parents to share the local RUOK? campaign’s ‘see it, save it, share it’ graphic, to provide others instant information to available support in Dorset. Find out more and download the graphic to share.

Children and young people can access support from their local MHST by speaking to a teacher or designated mental health lead. School staff and parents can also contact the team if they have any concerns about a pupil. Find out more.

Dorset HealthCare offers a wide range of mental health support for all ages – visit to find out more or call the Trust’s 24/7 Connection phone line (0800 652 0190) or NHS 111 for urgent support.


L-R Frances Gedling, Abi Venables and Fleur Harrison.jpg  RUOK shareable graphic (Final).png

Dorset HealthCare MHST Education Mental Health Practitioners (L-R) Frances Gedling, Abi Venables and Fleur Harrison at Bayside Primary School in Poole and the RUOK? shareable graphic.

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