Former Winslow schoolgirl Olivia paving the way for mental health support at university

Ex-Sir Thomas Fremantle student making 'wonderful contribution' to the wellbeing of her peers and local residents

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 6:02 am
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 6:04 am

A former Winslow schoolgirl enjoyed mentoring fellow pupils so much she has gone on to develop her mental health support skills as a project leader at university.

Olivia Gaynard took part in Buckinghamshire Mind’s Peer Support in Schools Service while she was a sixth form student at Sir Thomas Fremantle School.

Her training included mental health awareness and key aspects of the role such as responsibilities, communication, listening skills and safeguarding.

Olivia Gaynard
Olivia Gaynard

It provided invaluable support to schools as they dealt with the effects of the pandemic on children’s mental health.

Olivia found the experience so rewarding she is now project leader of Durham University’s mental health support programme, which focuses on helping the students and the local community.

“The peer support service is amazing. I’m so pleased to be able to take what I learned as a peer mentor at Sir Thomas Fremantle School and to be able to develop my skills and role even further to benefit others,” said Olivia.

Alice Moody, Buckinghamshire Mind’s children and young people team lead, said:“We are so proud of Olivia and the wonderful contribution she is making to improving the mental health of her peers and local residents.

“Her interest, enthusiasm and dedication to the role of peer mentor was clearly evident and we are delighted that she has chosen to apply that same dedication to mental health at university.

“Olivia’s experience is a perfect example of how the service not only helps the children who share their feelings in school, but also the peer mentors themselves. The life skills they learn are used throughout their lives, wherever they go, providing a lasting legacy for the whole community.”