Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain

Mental HealthLife is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain

Mental Health talks to students and parents by Dick Moore

Since November 2012, Dick Moore has been visiting schools, universities and organisations to help raise awareness of mental health issues. Mr Moore is not a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or qualified counsellor. He has spent many years as a teacher (and over twenty years as a headmaster) and tragically lost a child, who took his own life.  He knows that some young people — and their parents — often find it difficult to take the first step towards finding help. 

Mr Moore visited Ardingly College on Tuesday 17th October and gave two talks; Dancing in the Rain to the Upper Sixth and Coping with your Adolescent to parents. To both groups he provided some shocking statistcs on mental health and the likely hood of experiences at Ardingly College. He talked about his own experience, and some of the symptoms of a mental health problem so that both students and parents could recognise the signs themselves, in particular the difference between a low day and depression. For parents, he then talked about how to talk to your own children, what to do if you are worried and coping strategies (crying being important for everyone). He explained that however strong the temptation it does not necessarily help when parents come to their children’s rescue. Children need to make mistakes and learning failure is something that happens to everyone; is normal, healthy and a very valuable learning experience which makes us all stronger and more able to cope with what life hands to us. 

Dick Moore said:

“However dark life seems to be, it is not a permanent situation. We all face storms, sometimes hurricanes, but we do have ways of coping and surviving. Adolescence is a particularly emotional time and children benefit from knowing that anxiety can be both helpful and unhelpful. There is a difference between what is a low mood and what is depression. We cover a range of inter-related topics such as: Grief and loss; Depression; Anxiety; Stress: Teenage malaise or emerging mental ill-health; Eating disorders; Self-harm; Adolescent development; Tips for coping with your adolescent; Tips for your adolescent coping with you!

Students at the talk were very moved:

Alessandro Oriani:

“Dick Moore’s talk to the Upper Sixth students was very touching because it was so personal to him. You could tell he wasn’t just saying these things because it had happened to him in his life. The powerfulness of his talk not only made you open your eyes to yourself and any worries you might have, but also to others.  It has made me much more aware of mental health issues and to look out for other people.”

Eike Landwehr:

“Mr Moore delivered a really insightful presentation on mental health. His personal approach to the issue was particularly moving and made his talk one of the most engaging I have listened to.​”

George Kapff:

“I for one have never really given it much thought, however the presentation opened my eyes – it was so personal and profound. Somehow, Mr Moore has managed to find more than just a ‘silver lining’; he has used his emotion to connect to the people he speaks to and gives a message which should be heard by all.”

Parent Dawn Lewis said:

“What an amazing speaker Dick Moore is. His talk was by far and away the best I have heard. What he said was both a wake-up call, and inspiring at the same time. A truly impactful talk, with a first class speaker.”

Today, 10% of young people are suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder.  Not only does this mean that a vast number of young people are unhappy, but also that they are underperforming at school, college and in the early stages of their careers. The consequences for families, schools and employers are dire.

And yet mental health remains a largely hidden epidemic. There is so much more that could and should be done.  If you are concerned about the emotional wellbeing of someone, help is out there.