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Wirral mental health support programme on the BBC

BePART programme

A Wirral scheme designed to support the mental health of students has been praised in the BBC’s ‘Health: Truth or Scare’ programme.

Designed to tackle students’ stress levels ahead of the exam period, Birkenhead Sixth Form College’s ‘BePART’ programme was credited with giving A Level students tools to cope with the demands of academic and home life.

‘BePART’ stands for being positive, ambitious, resilient and thoughtful, and was devised by psychology staff at the college. The six-week programme includes sessions on using gratitude to build resilience, the importance of sleep and diet, and meditative relaxation techniques to help with calm and focus.

Presented by Angela Rippon and Kevin Duala, ‘Health: Truth or Scare’ investigated growing concerns over teenage stress and its health impacts on young people who face exam pressure. The college’s scheme was highlighted on the programme as being at the “forefront” of stress-related problems.

After interviewing students involved, the BBC’s Kevin Duala said: “It was lovely to meet the students, and so refreshing to see their approach to exam pressure and their determination for it not to get the better of them. The College’s programme is clearly working for them.”

A Level student Ben Harding was initially sceptical about taking part in the holistic scheme. He said to the BBC: “It actually changed a lot in my life. I know now that if I’m stressed I can go and calm myself down and then get back into the swing of things. It works at home but it’s the same with revision and exams too.”

The Faculty of Education at Liverpool John Moores University has been helping the college to analyse the results of the programme and give feedback to help it evolve. A report by Professor David Putwain said that BePART has helped students to be “more ready for the rigours of their academic studies” and “deal with setbacks in a positive and constructive fashion.”

BePART will be rolled out for new students this September. To find out more, please contact psychology teacher Roy Owen on or 0151 652 5575.

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