The other day I was having a discussion with my friend, who goes to Orleans Park School, when we both came to shocking discoveries. She mentioned a place called "The Zone", which I had no clue what it was. Then, she explained to me that The Zone is a place students can go if they are feeling stressed, or are feeling overwhelmed. They can miss lessons and in the Zone there are school counsellers if they need to talk. As a Waldegrave student this shocked me. There is nothing even slightly like this at Waldegrave. If one experiences an issue they can go to their form tutor or head of year, but there is no system in place where you can get time out of lessons.

She was shocked that other schools do not have places like this as it has helped her get through previous difficult times.

Upon reflection, I too think it should be commonplace. At Waldegrave School if you want to get counselling you are put on a long waiting list. One individual I know, despite being put on the list months ago, has still not recieved the help she needs. Surely, this isn't safe whatsoever for the wellbeing of the students and their mental health? This easy access system is safer and easier.  Recently, when grieving the death of a family member I had a hard time at school, were everything felt stark and overwhelming. In a textiles lesson I broke down in tears and really needed a time out place to go. Of course, however, there was no such place and I was left crying in a lesson for half an hour feeling distressed.  My initial thought when I heard of this place you could effectively miss lessons was the that wouldn't some people take advantage and skip lessons willy-nilly. To that, my friend responded that, while, yes this does happen, it's a small price to pay for a mentally healthier school and happier students.

Annually, Waldegrave have a wellbeing week where students are shown powerpoints about mindfullness in form times and told to sleep more. But as schoolwork and the stress of being a 21st century teenager pile up a few slides about meditation are absolutely useless. We need change, not half-hearted powerpoint presentations.

I cannot stress enough how much of an important issue this is. Considering that one in four school students suffer from a mental health problem, not to mention bereavement or other issues think about how many young people this could genuinely help.