Debating project

The Learning Collaborative are teaming up with South West London & St George’s NHS Trust and the English Speaking Union (ESU) to deliver a 12 week debating training to young people in participation groups connected with mental health services across the London & South East, which will culminate in a formal debating competition at a prestigious location in front of an invited audience.

The young people will be invited to research, develop arguments around and debate motions related to emotional wellbeing, mental health, health care and the political and social structures in which we live, which will feedback into the hosting services development, as well as opening up these subjects for discussion in a non-stigmatising way.

Examples of motions that might used:

  • This House Believes: That schools should place higher importance on students’ well-being than on their academic success.
  • This House Believes: That good mental health is the responsibility of the individual, not of the NHS.
  • This house believes: That social media is detrimental to mental health.
  • This house believes that deliberate self-harm is an attention seeking behaviour
  • This house believes that mental health does not affect everyone
  • This House Would: Divert children and young people’s mental health funding away from the NHS to schools, to have a positive impact on more young people.
  • This House Believes: That poor mental health affects everybody.
  • This House Believes: That poor mental health is caused by biological abnormalities.

The 12 week training will be delivered to local groups and led either by mentors from the ESU, or young people or participation workers who have been trained by the ESU.  Through the programme, young people will be able to develop:

  • Research skills;
  • Team working;
  • Empathy;
  • Their voice;
  • Empowerment
  • Skills in structuring arguments;
  • CV-skills;
  • Interview and workplace skills;
  • Self-esteem and confidence;
  • Resilience

We also expect young people taking part to benefit from the competition in a safe and contained environment, and from adopting positions from which to argue that might differ from their own opinions.

Everyone taking part will also be issued with an English Speaking Union certificate.

If you are interested in taking part, and would like more information, please email




About charlottebarrett13

Charlotte Barrett is the Project Officer for the London & South East CYP IAPT Learning Collaborative

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