10 September 2018
Lecturer Victoria English made the Independent’s because of her mental health campaign work for young people.
The Independent’s Happy List celebrate 50 outstanding people from across the UK for their contributions to making Britain a happier place to live because of their volunteering, mentoring and selflessness. All the winners who made the list were nominated by others.
“I am thrilled to be nominated and recognised by the list as it helps to highlight the worthwhile nature of raising funds for charities, helping others and the importance of mental health campaigning. It’s fantastic to sit alongside the wonderful other people featured in the list who I have so much admiration for”, said Victoria.
Victoria, from Pontypool, was nominated by Anja Nielsenafter the two had recently worked together on Royal Commonwealth projects when Anja was Programme Officer for the charity. The two have known each other for three years.
“I nominated Victoria because she is an everyday inspiration. She is a tireless campaigner for happiness and positive mental health and enriches the lives of all those who come into contact with her both personally and professionally.
Her dedication to her students is inspiring and has seen them achieve and experience above and beyond what anyone could ever dream of. She is a wonderful teacher, campaigner, and person, and I am so proud (but not at all surprised!) by her place on this list”, commented Anja.
Victoria, who campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, was inspired by her students with additional learning needs.
Victoria said, “I work with an incredible group of young people, who despite learning difficulties and mental health issues, still manage to give so much back to their community and others. Yet often their voice is not heard and help not made available.
“It’s a shocking statistic that almost 40% of young people with learning disabilities are likely to suffer from a mental health problem. I was struck by the lack of resources out there to help empower young people with the tools to look after their mental health.”
Victoria, who suffered personally from general anxiety, has worked with company Action for Happiness to embed mental health resources into her teaching curriculum. The Time to Change champion also delivers Mental Health First Aid Youth and practices mindfulness and relaxation with her students in class.
“I’m working with the Mental Health foundation to spearhead a new Peer Support Mental Health venture at the college. I’m lucky to have an amazing line manager Debbie Field who fully supports my need to campaign and enables me to pursue wonderful opportunities not only for myself but for my students”, added Victoria.