Offering an ear to students who need it

Mikala Richards in her therapy room in the school.
Mikala Richards in her therapy room in the school.

Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School (DCHS) is working hard to place mental and emotional wellbeing at the centre of education.

The high school has been developing its vision and at its core is a commitment to building relationships.

This year, DCHS has worked hard to increase services and support for those in the school community who need it most.

They are focusing peer-on-peer relationships, addressing bullying and supporting staff with additional psychoeducational needs, so that everyone within the school community can gain a deeper understanding of the stresses young people face, and how to help.

As well as strengthening its skilled pastoral team, the school has been working with other professionals, many of whom have been really impressed with the school’s commitment to mental health and wellbeing and the quality of the relationships that it achieves with young people.

Mikala Richards, the school’s new psychotherapist, said: “This is an exciting time as we work with our local youth service and our volunteers, such as the chaplaincy service and counselling trainees who offer a listening ear. We hope that not just school but our community as a whole will be positively impacted.”

Together with Community@NE66, the school is fund-raising for its counselling service so that increasing numbers of young people can have access to free psychotherapy or counselling.

The school now has a qualified child and adolescent psychotherapist in school working with students and staff.

Mikala added: “Thank you to everyone who has helped us create two therapy rooms and provided resources, time and finances to move this initiative further, in particular Homebase and Alnwick Baptist Church. We are opening a JustGiving page, along with funding bids, so we can increase our counselling service. It is making a difference.”

For details, call Mikala on 01665 602166.