Jewish pupils join national campaign for mental health awareness
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Jewish pupils join national campaign for mental health awareness

Thousands of Jewish students wear uniforms inside for Children’s Mental Health Week

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

From back: Gabriella Spillman, Zach Spillman, Jessica Spillman and Rafi Garcia. At front from left to right: Ilan Garcia and Sophia Novick
From back: Gabriella Spillman, Zach Spillman, Jessica Spillman and Rafi Garcia. At front from left to right: Ilan Garcia and Sophia Novick

Thousands of Jewish pupils are today wearing their school uniforms inside out in support of a mental health campaign that coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week.

More than 170 schools – including virtually all Jewish schools across the UK – as well as several clubs and businesses are supporting Inside Out Day with the message that how a person looks might not reflect how they feel.

Among Jewish schools in London participating are Independent Jewish Day School, Immanuel College, Sinai, JFS, North West London, Akiva, Clore Shalom, Hasmonean, Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, Kerem, Mathilda Marks Kennedy Jewish Primary School, Moriah Jewish Day School, Naima, Rosh Pinah, Wolfson Hillel, Yavneh Primary, Yavneh College, Beit Shvidler, Etz Chaim and Sacks Morasha and Alma. From Leeds, Brodetsky Primary School, LJFS and The Zone have signed up, alongside King David Primary and North Cheshire Jewish Primary in Manchester and Calderwood Lodge in Glasgow.

The campaign was organised by Jo Novick, from north London, with siblings Julie Borlant and Janie Jackson-Spillman, as a way of remembering their sister, Jenny Jackson, who took her own life nearly four years ago. Jenny, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had just turned 40 when she died in 2016.

Speaking last month about the initiative, Jo, 48, said: “It’s a simple way of making us all stop and think about how someone may be looking OK on the outside, but on the inside they may be feeling sad or worried.People think others look fine, but actually inside they might be suffering. It’s also a way of getting children to think of others, because no one really knows how someone else is feeling.”

Participants are asked to take a selfie and post their pictures on social media and tag it with #InsideOutDay.

Elsewhere, children at Nancy Reuben Primary School in Hendon, launched their first iTunes podcast called iFeel, designed to help promote children’s mental health issues.

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