Self-awareness & mental health event – by Mollie, Y11

As part of the Psychology Pre-A Level course for current Year 11 students, Mollie was given the opportunity to attend a virtual conference on psychology and mental health earlier this week hosted by Belgrano Day School in Argentina:

On the afternoon of June 14th on behalf of AKS, I attended a virtual online psychology event on mental health and self-awareness with some 70 students from 11 schools worldwide.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the session, the discussions and the insights shared. I found it particularly relevant when the conference was discussing the coping mechanisms for stress and overwhelm that many students may experience and that we may wrongly use splitting, repression and maladaptive daydreaming as coping techniques.   

I also found it extremely interesting how common it was in every school and country represented, that many students may not feel entirely comfortable discussing their own mental health with a teacher, as they may not totally trust the line of confidentiality.  Interestingly however, there was a consensus that many students still feel more ‘comfortable’ talking to strangers online due to the chance to being able to totally open up and speak freely on the main cause of stress for young people, which we typically found was related to school and the pressures within.  

Throughout the conference, I experienced a sense of collaboration and felt that everyone involved had an obvious respect for each other, based on the mutual interest of psychology that we all shared. I also learned that our mental state is at its best when we are surrounded by like-minded others and that was certainly my experience throughout the event.  

I enjoyed participating in a number of discussion topics before then going on to speak about the ways we can improve our own mental health when we feel at our lowest.  In conclusion, I really enjoyed the event and hope I am able to attend another one soon. 

Below are some of the conference breakout room questions:  

  • When do you feel your mental health is at its best and lowest state?  
  • What systems or things do you need or utilise, to cope with difficult situations?  
  • Does your school have an office you can go to talk to about mental health?  
  • Does your school educate students about mental health?  
  • What aspects of your life can at times compromise your mental health? For example, social media, school exams, quarantine during covid, ‘toxic’ friendships.  
  • Can you talk with your friends about your mental health? 

Mollie, Year 11