As part of the BBC project We Are Bradford, schools across the city are trialling the mentor scheme which encourages youngsters to be open and talk about mental health
We Are Bradford is a BBC project in which they are working with the people of the city to tell the stories which matter to them. The project aims to get to know the people of Bradford, get insight into the city, and to “celebrate the great things about their city which aren’t always a part of the news”.
David Sillito, BBC Media and Arts correspondent, devised the project. He said: “We Are Bradford is an experiment, an attempt to try to work in a different way to give a fuller, and perhaps fairer, picture of a city.
“The heart of this is conversation. We want to hear from people to help us tell different stories in different ways. News should be more than just a catalogue of our troubles, it should reflect the whole of life.”
The project began on 11 March and will end today. It explores the people of the city through a series of videos, all published on the BBC News website.
“There is a place for surprise, delight and hope. The only way this will happen is by talking. This is a week-long news conference to which everyone is invited.”
Mental health mentors
Eleven schools across the city of Bradford are involved in a mentoring pilot scheme, in which schoolchildren are supporting each other by offering the chances to talk about their concerns and open up the conversation around mental health.
In the video, we see student Gemma talking to mentor and classmate Lilian about feeling stressed about her exams. As mentor, Lilian suggests Gemma talk to her parents about her worries, revising some more and taking some time out.
“Just one chat, one conversation can change everything” says Lilian, speaking about the scheme. “So other people start to help others and then [maybe] we could change the world, help everyone.”
Responding to the scheme, mental health champion, Faye Keenan said: “They are coming up with ideas that none of us adults would probably dream of in a million years. It’s been a long time since I’ve been at school so I couldn’t tell you what the issues are in detail but these guys are living it every day.”
You can follow the project on Twitter #BBCWeAreBradford.