Wimbledon High Joins The Fight To End Mental Health Stigma

Horace the Black Dog meets local pupils

Wimbledon High School is raising awareness of mental health among its students by hosting a visit from the Black Dog statue ‘Horace’ who is part of the national mental health charity SANE’s nationwide Black Dog Campaign.

The vision of SANE’s Black Dog Campaign is that the black dog statues become ‘roving ambassadors’, taking the subject of mental health into schools, colleges and the workplace.

Since the campaign was launched in 2011, Black Dogs have been hosted by Deloitte, Clifford Chance, Legal & General, ASDA and Herriot Watt University.

Horace was collected from Essex and delivered to London free-of-charge by two members of palletised freight distribution network Pall-Ex Group, founded by Dragons’ Den star Hilary Devey CBE.

Essex-based member Pall-Ex South West collected Horace from the Devon and Cornwall Police Headquarters. He was then transported through the Pall-Ex network and delivered into London by Surrey-based member Surrey Pallitz.

Founder and CEO of Pall-Ex Group Hilary Devey CBE commented: “Mental health remains a taboo topic for many people, but I am delighted to support SANE’s work in breaking down the barriers, and normalising the discussion to benefit the younger members of our society.
“I’m proud to have members like Pall-Ex South West and Surrey Pallitz within the network who also recognise the importance of removing stigma around mental health and are willing to assist charities such as SANE.”

Jane Lunnon, Head of Wimbledon High School says: “We are delighted to host Horace at the school. The importance of our own and each other’s mental health cannot be underestimated and Horace’s presence in our garden will give us an opportunity to start a new discussion with our girls and parents.

Mental health is not a subject we shy away from in school – it is at the heart of our pastoral programme, GROW, and with Sixth Formers trained as peer counsellors and an openness amongst staff, students and parents to confront this sometimes difficult subject, we can work positively together.”

The Black Dog has been a metaphor for depression since classical times and was famously used by Sir Winston Churchill to describe his darker moods. It forms the basis for SANE’s campaign, which aims to raise awareness of depression and other mental health conditions, encouraging people to speak more openly and seek help, as well as help tackle the stigma that often surrounds mental illness.

Each dog has a ‘Collar of Hope’ around its neck and the plinth supporting the Black Dog statue has details of SANE’s website and how people can access SANE’s emotional support services.

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October 8, 2016

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