The Annual Safeguarding Event took place on Saturday, 10 November at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School at High Green, Sheffield.  The theme this year was mental health and the excellent feedback we have received confirms that, once again, the day was a huge success.  Special thanks are given to Fr Andrew Browne for helping to organise one of our guest speakers and also to Alex Healy (Headteacher) for the use of the school facilities and for her invaluable support on the day.

  We were very fortunate to have some excellent guest speakers who gave us very interesting and informative presentations, raising awareness on various topics such as mental health conditions, stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, support networks available and the recovery mind set process.

  The day commenced with a welcome from Colette Hammill and Fr Peter McGuire which was followed by Bob Levesley’s talk on suicide prevention.  Joe Charles from Sheffield MIND then gave an overview of mental health and mental illness, diagnoses, warning signs and symptoms, statistics and how to look after our own mental health and wellbeing.

Colette Hammill, diocesan Safeguarding Co-Ordinator (left) with Baroness Sheila Hollins

  After lunch Baroness Hollins talked about the impact of abuse on mental health, focussing on mental health support for survivors of abuse, including those with learning disabilities.  Baroness Hollins is the founder, Editor and Chair of Books Beyond Words.  Whether supporting somebody with a learning disability or communication difficulty, Beyond Words provides books and training to empower and support people who find pictures easier to understand than words.  More information on the books and how to order can be accessed via www.booksbeyondwords.co.uk.

  The day ended with a short workshop on Mindfulness by Laura Rendell from Hallam Caring Services.  Laura is a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist and a trainer in Mindfulness, providing training to teachers and ancillary staff in schools.  Laura uses mindfulness technique in her practice on a daily basis in order that clients are able to become more compassionate in their lives.

  Bishop Ralph gave a closing speech and prayer at the end of the event.  Slides from all presentations are available on request to Jo at the Safeguarding Office.