Featured Articles – Written by our students
MHNE is an organisation in the North East that helps charities for mental health. Washington School students decided that they should do a story relating to Comic Relief, which was one week before News Day. They had a look on the Comic Relief website to find what kinds of charities benefit from the event. Mental health was one of the options. Washington Students found the Mental Health North East website and decided to contact them. They e-mailed them and they visited us on News Day for an interview.
The group work all over in the North East and help 368 mental health organisations. They help and support other organisations, mostly with their website. The £400 million that has been set aside by parliament for mental health services isn’t as much as you think even though it seems like a lot since it has to be shared all over the country and it has to be used for doctors and other health issues, it isn’t a lot for mental health. When questioned about the €35 million outlined in the 2013 budget Ali Lee from Waddington Street Centre (a charity that MHNE support) in County Durham said it was a ‘token gesture’ by the government, although she also acknowledged that it was a step in the right direction.
MHNE do not get any money from Comic Relief. They have tried to apply before but were unsuccessful.
MHNE help over 360 organizations by providing training and other events for everyone. They help around 36,800 people a year, indirectly. They also have a lot of volunteers to work for them. One of their roles is that they sometimes take calls from people who are in distress, sometimes getting calls off people who say they want to end their own life. All the employees have been trained to try and prevent this. They then contact a professional or the Police.
They have a few problems and ways to make their jobs easier but most of them include funding, which is very hard to get nowadays. So hard in fact that mental health charities can sometimes refer to themselves as ‘Cinderella Services’, forgotten or remembered last by the government. Their overall goal is to improve mental health in the north east and work with schools, colleges, hospitals and other organisations. They want to help everybody, not just by treating people but getting everybody involved.
As well as MHNE pupils also spoke to Tracy, the counselling manager from Streetwise which is a charity based in Newcastle Upon Tyne who work with any person between the ages of 11 – 25.
Most of Streetwise’s funding is used for staff salaries, for the building and all the costs within the building (e.g. water, electric, heating) and they have also just moved so it has been quite financially stressful recently.
Streetwise provide support for people who have sexual health problems and they also help people with mental health problems and emotional difficulties.
If they can’t provide the services people need they will refer them to a specialist or higher authority.
Streetwise are very lucky as they get funding from Comic Relief. They get funding over a period of three years (starting in September this year) they get £120,000 over the whole three years and they get £40,000 each year, despite this Streetwise are like MHNE and the rest by their need for money being really high.
Streetwise are mainly online which is one of the reasons they were given funding by Comic Relief and Children in need. They also have ways to connect to people like Skype and instant messaging.
When questioned about the funding mental health charities receive Sharon Hodgson MP said “The government’s budget for mental health treatment has decreased in real terms for the second year running. I believe this is short sighted, as a lack of treatment now will lead to much higher costs in the future.”
By Joe and Nathan
BBC Report is where the BBC visits lots of schools across the UK and give the children there a chance to have the journalist experience.
On 15th March 2013, BBC News came into Washington to ask the children ‘What is it like being 13 in 2013?’. There were two school reporters, they interviewed three people on what they thought about being ‘Thirteen in 2013′. The answers were all different and they all enjoyed the experience.
At first they had to set up and tell the BBC a bit about themselves then they started the interviewing. Jamie-Leigh’s first interview was Rachel, she told her that she wanted to be herself and take life one day at a time. Jamie’s second interview was Lucy, she told her that her role model was her parents because they put up with her. Her last interview was Sabina, she told Jamie that one of the things that she was looking forward to when she grew up was learning how to drive and having a car of her own.
After the interviews of the Year 8’s, the other school reporters interviewed the reporters (Steph and Helen) from BBC Look North that helped make the video about being 13.
These were the questions and the answers:
Who inspires you?
Steph: My Mum is always an inspiration and she works really hard.
Helen: I am inspired by Chris Evans because he is an example of someone who messed up but his talent and creativity means that it is always good to listen to him.
Why did you become a journalist?
Steph: I realised that, after work experience, I really enjoyed reporting and working on the radio and I wanted to interview and get to talk to people. I got the opportunity to work for Look North and enjoyed that too.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Steph: When I was about 13 I wanted to be a journalist. But before that, when I was younger, I wanted to be an architect because I really enjoyed playing with Lego and building things.
Helen: I always wanted to work in radio and TV. Later on I got told that I would never work in radio or TV because I wasn’t the right sort of person.
What is your favourite part about being a journalist?
Steph: The variety. You don’t know what you are going to be doing or where you will be going. You don’t know what stories you’re going to be doing or whether you will be doing a top story or not. You don’t know where in the region you will be going either.
Helen: It is just fun. Some people enjoy staying in a small office and doing the same routine every day, but I am not that sort of person.
What are your life goals?
Steph: I want to be the best that I can be and carry on working hard in my job. I also wants to keep travelling and go to America.
Helen: I want to spend as much time as possible with my three small boys. I want to be a great mum and be good in my job at the same time.
What do you do in your spare time?
Steph: I love running with my husband, cycling, getting outdoors and enjoying the wildlife. I want to go to America and see the wildlife there too.
I enjoy reading and watching films. I am also a member of a steel pan band and I enjoy playing steel pans. I like hanging out with my kids and my husband and doing normal family things.
What don’t you like about our job?
Steph: The hours can be anti social and sometimes you have to work weekends. You also have to do late shifts so it’s a bit of a challenge juggling social life with work. I wish i didn’t get so nervous on the news too.
The students of Washington School who were involved in BBC School Report loved the experience and are considering becoming reporters when they are older. This experience has given the students both the confidence to be filmed and the ambition to try and do better in their life and try to live it to the full.
By Jamie-Leigh and Caitlin