Chadwell Heath school pupils got their walking shoes on to raise awareness of good mental wellbeing for children.

Accompanied by their teachers, Chadwell Primary School students took part in a walkathon on May 13 to mark Mental Health Awareness Week from May 9 to 15.

The youngsters walked around the local area to raise £790 for two charities - Place2Be and You and Me Counselling.

The walk had been arranged to start a conversation about poor mental health in children after the coronavirus pandemic.

Ilford South MP Sam Tarry was in attendance to support the youngsters as he said he felt the cause was particularly important coming out of the lockdowns imposed since 2020.

He said: “Mental health has been something that has obviously affected people in Ilford. Particularly young people. I’ve seen it in terms of casework in my office. To see a school and the young people in that school across age groups actually start a conversation about mental health issues is so positive.

“We are not great at talking about our feelings in Britain. This is about saying to people 'it’s okay to have feelings and it’s okay to express what they are'. If you do that and you have some issues that need help, people can step in.”

Mr Tarry continued to say that mental health issues should be treated like any other medical issue and the area required more funding.

“We need the government to recognise that there is a mental health crisis in this country at the moment,” he said.

Headmaster of Chadwell Primary School, Lee Walker, said he felt it was important to have strategies in place to help young people struggling with their mental health.

He thought it was an important day because he felt it was something that was often overlooked and not well funded.

"It's not something you can ignore," Mr Walker said. "It’s about having strategies in place within your own school. Having open conversations.

"Appreciating that mental health does actually affect children.

"As school leaders and as teachers we have a responsibility to ensure that we are addressing it for our children because ultimately, they are going to be the next generation.”