The SW-SHRN helps schools and local authorities learn which health areas students need support with and identify where to focus their resources to improve the health and wellbeing of their students. We run a student health and wellbeing survey in schools to enable pupil voice and provide tailored school reports which include benchmarking data against all other South West schools in the network.
Back in June, the South West – School Health Research Network held a findings workshop with attendees from schools, local authorities, research and public health organisations. This event provided a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the network over the past two years, share early findings and resources from the network and seek feedback about the next steps for us and what our key stakeholders see as key priorities for the network moving forward.
A vital part of the network is giving back to schools. We hear so often of schools participating in a large volume of research surveys and getting much back in return. A large part of the findings workshop was to showcase the resources designed for schools as part of our SPHR Impact Accelerator funding. These included an infographic summarising key findings, a resource pack including a lesson plan to discuss network findings and a visual co-designed with young people.
The visual in particular received a lot of attention from our stakeholders at the event. This was designed through running focus groups with students (aged 12–15) in some of our participating schools. We asked young people to reflect on our key findings from our survey and to discuss how the school environment impacted on their mental health. The themes from these focus groups were then hand-illustrated by More than Minutes. Attendees at the workshop agreed that this was a fantastic and creative way to visualise study findings in an accessible way. We also received feedback from other researchers than the image resonates with their findings from talking with young people about mental health in schools.
As a result of sharing this image at the workshop, schools felt this would be really helpful to display in schools as a means to get conversations started around mental health and well-being, to show students one of the outputs as a result of their participation in the survey and to possibly encourage students to participate in future health research. We will be sending this image to all of our participating schools now they have returned from the summer break.
Overall, the workshop was a great way to share findings, discuss priority areas for the future and to plan the next iteration of the network. We are now busy putting all of the ideas from this workshop together to plan next steps for SW-SHRN!