The “Self-Esteem Team”, made up of the three young women behind a new teen guide on mental health, are petitioning the government to incorporate wellbeing exercises into the school day.
The Self-Esteem Team, which started up 10 years ago, is made up of Natasha Devon, Grace Barrett and Nadia Mendoza. They have worked in more than 250 schools with 50,000 teenagers, giving advice on mental wellbeing, body image and exam stress, and their book The Self-Esteem Team's Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs!?, was published by John Blake Publishing on 6th August.
The trio are now posting 365 letters (one every day for a year) to David Cameron, asking him to discuss their ‘teachers toolkit’. The toolkit, which they have put together through their work with teenagers around self-esteem, includes 35 mental and physical wellbeing exercises – one for every school week - for the mind, body and soul.
In the first letter, posted 19th August, the authors said: “In an average UK classroom, three children are self-harming, one in 10 will develop an eating disorder and suicide is the biggest killer of our young men. With sustained importance placed on young people’s physical and mental health we can reverse these terrifying statistics.
“We know that teachers are desperately overworked and already juggling changes to the curriculum to incorporate PSHE lessons on the issues we describe above. At present one in three visits to a GP surgery is for a mental health issue, costing the NHS £102bn per annum. Our obesity crisis costs a further £45bn yearly, with binge-related obesity now considered an eating disorder (and therefore a mental health issue). A relatively small investment into our children’s future, giving them the tools they need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, will be paid back into the British economy many-fold in years to come.”
During the campaign the team will also update its social media following using the #letterstodave hashtag.