17 May UNICEF Outright
As part of our journey through the Rights Respecting Schools Award, St. George’s Upper School took part in the Unicef UK OutRight Campaign 2021/22. The OutRight campaign is a youth campaign run by children, for children, in association with Unicef UK. It aims to help children to speak out about their rights in the UK and abroad. The focus of OutRight 2021/22 was Mental Health and Wellbeing.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you live – we all have mental health and it’s just as important as our physical health. The last couple of years have been hard for everyone and our lives have changed a lot because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s made us think about what’s most important to us and how we all need to look after our mental health and wellbeing. By taking part in OutRight, young people in our school have:
- Learned about mental health, and why it’s as important as physical health; through whole school assemblies, Form Time topics and PSHE lessons
- Learned why they need to challenge the stigma and discrimination that exists around mental health and the importance of talking about it
- Demonstrated an understanding of how mental health is linked to children’s rights
- Reflected on how they can look after their own mental health and wellbeing
- Found out what to do if they’re concerned about someone else’s mental health
- Used their voices to ‘take action’ on their right to good mental health (Article 24) and advocate for change with decision-makers
- Participated in our publicised Walk, Talk and Support events
How does Mental Health and Well Being link to the rights from the UNCRC?
All children have all these rights, no matter who they are, where they live, what language they speak, what their religion is, what they think, what they look like, regardless of gender or wealth, if they have a disability, and no matter who their parents or families are or what their parents or families believe or do. No child should be treated unfairly for any reason. Article 2 explains that these rights apply to all children everywhere, no matter who they, where they come from and what they look like. For example, a school should not discriminate against a child who is suffering from anxiety, just like one would expect a school to make reasonable adjustments not to discriminate against a child with a broken leg.
When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. All adults should do what is best for children. Governments should make sure children are protected and looked after by their parents, or by other people when this is needed. Governments should make sure that people and places responsible for looking after children are doing a good job. Article 3 is important for every child’s mental health because it means adults should consider how the decisions they make will affect children’s mental health and that they should do what’s best for the child.
Children have the right to give their opinions freely on issues that affect them. Adults should listen and take children seriously. Article 12 is really important because it means every child’s opinion matters when it comes to talking about their mental health and choices relating to it; including how they take care of it and what kind of support or treatment they may receive.
Children have the right to share freely with others what they learn, think and feel, by talking, drawing, writing or in any other way unless it harms other people. In relation to mental health, Article 13 means that every child must be free to express their thoughts and opinions about mental health. It also means they should have access to a range of information about mental health and the support available to them, as long as it’s within the law.
Children have the right to the best health care possible, clean water to drink, healthy food and a clean and safe environment to live in. All adults and children should have information about how to stay safe and healthy. This covers their mental and physical health, and governments must provide this.
Children’s education should help them fully develop their personalities, talents and abilities. It should teach them to understand their own rights, and to respect other people’s rights, cultures and differences. It should help them to live peacefully and protect the environment. In respect to mental health, every child’s right to education includes developing their talents, personality, and abilities to the full. Understanding and being aware of our minds and mental health is important to ensure children develop to their full potential. Children with a mental health condition have the same right to education as children who are in good mental health.
We are pleased to announce that all of the students’ hard work has been awarded Unicef UK’s certificate for Outright 2021/22. Unicef have recognised our commitment and passion to raising awareness of Mental Health and Wellbeing and its effects on children’s rights.
Our school have signed up for the next OutRight Campaign in 2022/23. This will be about ‘children and young people’s right to health, all around the world.’