NOW Festival powerfully highlights mental health message

Organiser Kath Thompson hailed the NOW Festival as “fantastic” as the three day event was brought to a memorable close at Liverpool’s iconic Epstein Theatre.

Nearly two hundred local schoolchildren and young people took part as they put on drama and musical performances around the theme of mental and emotional wellbeing in children.

Thompson said: “What’s really exciting is to see the different ways schools are interpreting these rights and messages around mental health. And the most exciting part is when these pieces go on tour after the festival as that’s when the message really gets out there into schools.

“We will reach out to 8,000 schoolchildren – for me that’s going to be the highlight.”

Now in its second year, The NOW Festival, took place during National Children’s Mental Health Week – (6-12 February) and was held over three evenings with the following schools and youth organisations involved: The Belvedere Academy, Young Everyman and Playhouse, Sandfield Park School, Broughton Hall High School, Notre Dame Catholic College, YPAS, West Derby School, ADDvanced Solutions, Sacred Heart Primary School, The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, St Julie’s Catholic High School, St Edwards College, SPACE, St John Bosco, Kensington Primary, Barnardos Action with Young Carers, Studio School, Broadgreen International School, Archbishop Blanch and Leamington Primary School.

Each school curated their own piece  around the subject of ‘Mental Health and the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child’ (UNCRC) – selecting one of the 54 rights they wanted to focus on.

The team from Merseyside Youth Association’s mental health promotion team – part of the Liverpool Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) partnership – has been working on the festival with local children and young people aged 9-18 since September.

Dr Simon Bowers, NHS Liverpool CCG clinical vice chair, added: “Projects like the NOW festival are important as they help raise awareness of some of the pressures affecting young people’s mental health and can inspire others to ask for help.

“The continuing partnership between schools, voluntary groups and health providers means that mental health conditions can be addressed earlier, and families are supported as young people enter adulthood.”

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