Dr Alex George Visit
Dr Alex George visits Cirencester Deer Park School
On Monday 17 October 2022, Cirencester Deer Park School hosted a visit from A&E doctor, Youth Mental Health Ambassador and author Dr Alex George, who came to talk about his new book 'A Better Day' and to offer advice and tips to our young people on looking after your mental health.
Year 7 and Year 8 were joined in the Main Hall by Year 6 pupils from the three Corinium Education Trust primary schools: Chesterton, Kemble and Siddington. After an introduction from Mr Reed, Assistant Pastoral Team Leader, Dr Alex and Rachel Bolton from the charity Read for Good began their talk, which took the form of Rachel asking Dr Alex questions and him answering to the audience. At the end we had time for Dr Alex to take questions from the audience.
Amongst other things, Dr Alex encouraged everyone to talk more, to ask a friend twice when checking how they feel (How are you? You seem a bit quiet, how are you really?) and to feel the benefits of going for a walk. 'A Better Day' is broken up into easy-to-read sections and should appeal to anyone, but especially perhaps pupils in Years 5, 6, 7 and 8.
"I thought it was good because he talked about issues which are important to pupils of all ages, so it was great to have the Year 6s there, as well as our Year 7s and 8s." (Year 7)
"He explained we don't have to think of mental health as always being negative - it has a positive side." (Year 7)
"It was a really interesting talk, and Dr Alex was really relatable! Him sharing his experiences made you feel reassured that you're not completely alone when you're feeling low." (Year 8)
Mr Reed commented: I thought the morning was excellent! Dr Alex spoke to the pupils, rather than at them. He addressed issues which are not only relevant to them, directly, but also to the people they care about. Much of what he said, the opinions he shared and the strategies he advocated, echoed and resonated with so much of what we cover in the PSHE curriculum. Whilst the visit was dedicated to Years 6-8 across the Corinium Education Trust, the points covered were just as pertinent to the staff in the room, and I'll certainly be 'asking twice' whenever I'm checking in on anyone's mental health and wellbeing in the future!
As Dr Alex says in his book: 'The fact is, worrying is something we all experience to some degree, whether it's about making friends or falling out with people, the future, or problems at home, school and everything in between. Some people also struggle with other emotions that can feel overwhelming, such as sadness, anger, loneliness, frustration. It's only when I started to talk with other, and we shared our experiences, that I realised it's all part of being human and that I wasn't alone.'