Mental Health is real

Kirsty Raynor

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

As it is World Mental Health Day we wanted to show our gratitude to the work that so many charities are doing out there to erase the stigma that was once associated with it.

When people have something wrong, perhaps they hurt themselves, fall over, break something we send our sympathy and understanding as we can see the physical misdemeanour. However, we can be in just as much pain on the inside, we can be suffering from crippling anxiety that sometimes we find it hard to even breathe, and yet people do not see the severity of it, just because you cannot see it does not mean it isn’t there.

We are lucky enough that in 2018 things are changing, people are talking and it is our time to gain an understanding of Mental Health in both adults and children.

Statistics show that 10% of children and young people have mental health problems.

There are around 8 million children in school in the UK, which means around 800,000 children could be suffering, perhaps in silence. This is something that should shock readers, in fact everyone into thinking about all of these children and what we can do.

As a Yoga Teacher and advocate of Mental Health awareness, it has been my mission to develop a way to allow children to start to understand their feelings, emotions and creative expression, which is the core reason why we developed TeachFit.

boy leaning against wall

It isn’t just about the practical part of Yoga, although this is one of our main focusses in the beginning. It is about the children trying something new, learning breathing techniques and ways to visualise a truly happy place in their mind. 

It is such an incredible thing to be able to see and develop we want to ensure that children as young as 4 can start to develop more of an understanding of their mind. What a powerful start in life, if only this had been available to me in my primary school.

On a more personal note I want to assure you that my understanding of mental health comes from my own experience. In my twenties for a period of almost three years I used to suffer from anxiety. There were some days it was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my house, and when I had to I would have panic attacks on the tube.

"While to many Yoga may seem like a simple excercise, I see how the children change over the program, the things they start to say to me and the way they react."

It was awful and made no sense to me. I was confident, happy, enjoying my life and yet something still wasn’t right. I had been through a difficult experience which had essentially triggered it, and at the time I didn’t feel comfortable enough to admit it to myself let alone write about it in a blog post.

I believe that without this time I would not be the person I am now and I am so grateful that I experienced it, and want to work with people to help them in any way that I can.

sad girl on step

We want to feel comfortable enough to know that you can talk to us. As part of World Mental Health Day one of the fabulous things that the charity is holding are Tea and Talk sessions, where you can be part of a safe place to talk, listen and share.

At Opogo we care deeply about our members and so we will be hosting a session once a term with a mental health professional to give you the chance have the same experience in confidence. It is just as important that your mental health is cared for, as well as the children you teach.

If there is anything that is ever on your mind please feel free to contact us at any time as we are always there to listen and to help.

*(Murphy and Fonagy 2012)


About our Community Expert


Kirsty Raynor

#TeachFit programme lead

Kirsty is a yoga teacher on a journey of empowerment, building confidence and pushing the boundaries of what traditional yoga is and can be. 

She leads the TeachFit Yoga workshops in our partner schools.



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