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An inspiring guest speaker

Mon, Jun 10th, 2024
Worth School

Guest speaker Baroness Sheila Hollins delivered an excellent talk on Speech Day, urging students to reflect on who has helped them during the last year and also telling them to be ‘originals’, not ‘photocopies’.

It was an honour to welcome Baroness Hollins, who is a crossbench peer, professional psychiatrist, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at St George’s, University of London and who last November was appointed as the new president of the Catholic Union.

Selecting parts of her speech, she said: “Young people, you need to know that you are wonderful, actually more wonderful than you could possibly understand. I was a psychiatrist and I want to say how important it is to keep yourselves well and that you take care of each other.

“Mental health is not something people used to talk about but I know a lot of young people are worried about issues to do with mental health. Some of you will know what it is like to struggle, it is hard to understand what is happening to you, you might not find it easy to talk to friends. Some of you might be worried about a friend or family member with a mental illness and these kind of worries make it hard to learn, however good your teachers are. So, the end of the school year is a time to reflect on how well you have done, not just academically, but in terms of your relationships and your wellbeing.”

She continued: “I am going to talk about gratitude and grace. I want you to think for a moment, who is it who has really helped you get through this last year well; who do you want to thank? It might be a friend, it might be a teacher, it might be one of your parents. Who is it who has inspired you, who has kept you grounded and who wants you to do well?

“And then grace. There are five things we can all do every day that will keep you mentally and physically well: Give, do something for somebody else; Receive, letting others do something for you, don’t be so fiercely independent that you never accept help, you can’t love others in less you learn to be loved; Active, it helps both your mental and physical health if you are running or swimming; Create, creativity; Engage, engage in relationship, trusting somebody else in your daily life.”

Baroness Hollins also said: “Oscar Wilde once said, ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’. Blessed Carlo Acutis put it another way. He said, ‘All people are born as originals, but many die as photocopies’. Don’t be a photocopy, it won’t help you live life to the full.”

For more on Speech Day click here.

For more on an education at Worth click here.


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