Rising suicide rates, bullying cases, and self-harming incidents among young people has prompted the introduction of mental health workshops in Valencian Community secondary schools.

50 psychologists will oversee the special sessions for over 110,000 teenage students in the region.

“We are essential’ is the slogan for the workshops, with the first one held on Tuesday at the IES l’Arabi college in l’Alfas del Pi.

Valencia’s Education Minister, Raquel Tamarit, said: ”The aim is to empower and improve the emotional well-being of adolescent students.”

The format for the workshops and supporting information has been created by three clinical psychologists.

The first workshop session led by a psychologist lasts for two hours looking at all the different aspects the initiative will cover.

The remainder of the course involves counsellors and tutors from the school using specialist material looking at the mental health of students, as well as ways to avoid self-harming thoughts and behaviour during adolescence.

Maria Leal who took the first workshop in l’Alfas said it was about getting students to discuss their motivations and worries.

It’s also about how to deal with both positive and negative emotions.

“Situations can be seen as a way of learning or as a glass half empty,” said Leal.

The aim for the workshops is student participation and to openly express their views on mental health in a ‘safe and relaxed’ situation.

Teachers will play a big part in the follow-up work and some at l’Alfas said that ‘we are used to facing situations in which students do not know how to react including harassment, bullying, and cyberbullying’.

“We are very concerned about the use of social networks and we hope that this issue will also be worked on,” they pointed out.

“There are many problems that students talk about at school, especially those that happen at home, and on many occasions we have not been able to go further than we would have liked.”

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