It was a pleasure to welcome Dick Moore to the Bacon Theatre this term to talk to Sixth Form pupils, parents and Housemasters and Matrons.  Since November 2012, Dick has been visiting schools, universities and organisations to help raise awareness and provide support on mental health issues. Dick has been an English teacher, rugby coach, boarding school housemaster and, for over twenty years, the headmaster of a co-educational day and boarding school.

The talk began with Dick speaking about his family; his wife and four sons. He explained how each of his sons is very different and how, sadly, one of his sons took his own life. This tragedy led Dick to develop a passionate interest in adolescent development and emotional wellbeing. He has qualified as a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor and became an Associate Trainer for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. Dick said: “I am not a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor. But I do have wide experience of young people – not least as the father of four sometimes errant children!”

Dick went on to explain that his family are very privileged, but that mental health disorders do not discriminate, everyone is vulnerable, and that 75% of all mental health disorders begin in adolescence. He explained the range of signs and symptoms to look out, from lack of energy through to using alcohol or drugs, and encouraged pupils to talk to someone they trust if they are, or know someone who is, experiencing more than five of the symptoms. Talking to someone is the first step towards feeling better.

Dick left Dean Close pupils with the following advice:

  • Eat well, sleep well
  • Exercise and fresh air
  • Beware technology
  • Don’t expect to be perfect
  • Don’t believe that A*s are essential for happiness
  • Focus on what is really important (friends, family, loved ones)
  • Accept your emotions
  • Talk, talk, talk
  • Be kind to others
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Laugh and smile (ask yourself everyday if you have had a laugh today, if the answer is no, watch a funny video on YouTube!)

And finally he said: “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.” To find out more, please visit: www.dickmoore.org