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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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New scheme seeking to inspire Birmingham’s psychiatrists of the future

Published: 24/05/2018

 School pupils in Birmingham are being inspired to consider careers in mental health thanks to a new scheme.

Dr. Devika Patel from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is leading a local campaign backed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to engage with colleges and secondary schools.  The project aims to encourage pupils to consider a career in mental health.

The scheme has been piloted and also formed part of a recent project run by three Birmingham schools which raised awareness of mental health and almost £1,000 for the Trust’s charity Caring Minds. Pupils and staff from Swanshurst School, Kings Norton Girls’ School and St. Francis Primary took part in fundraising activities with a focus on emotional health and wellbeing.

Dr. Devika Pate

 Their work included a student leadership day in order to raise awareness of mental health issues as well as strategies to maintain wellbeing. Older students shared relaxation techniques with younger pupils such as using better breathing, yoga, physical activity and how to deal with negative thoughts.  Fundraising activities included an enterprise sale, skipathon, cake baking and a very popular session of throwing cold, wet sponges at teachers.

As part of a celebration of their fundraising efforts, representatives from each school took part in an inspiring question and answer with Dr. Patel based on the one hour interactive session being offered to local schools.

Dr. Patel said: “As a psychiatrist born, educated and trained in Birmingham, I am proud to get the chance to directly inspire the next generation of psychiatrists and mental health professionals in our city.  

“The pupils leading this excellent fundraising project showed they had a real interest in supporting better mental health for others. I hope that by explaining more about psychiatry and answering their questions about education and training I can help them turn that interest into a rewarding career in Birmingham.”

Schools interested in receiving a free one hour interactive session can email Dr. Patel via bsmhft.commsteam@nhs.net.