POET Lynn Gerrard joined pupils from the council's tuition service to get creative to help raise awareness of mental health challenges faced by young people.

Lynn, who has battled mental health issues herself, visited the pupils of the service at the Beacon Building on College Street, which helps pupils with complex and medical needs return to mainstream provision.

The children took part in poetry workshops to explore free verse and the cathartic liberation which poetry writing can provide.

They produced a piece of work which will be performed later this year on World Mental Health Day 10 October 10).

The week of May 8 to 14 marks Mental Health Awareness Week.

According to the St Helens Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategic Framework 2015-18, the borough has had a "high rate" of hospital admissions due to mental health problems among young people. In 2012/13 there were 48 cases and 45 the following year.

From 2010/11 to 2012/13 the rate of self-harm in ten to 24-year-olds was 688.7 per 100,000, the second highest in Merseyside and almost double the England rate of 352.3. And over the period, a total of 657 admissions were due to self-harm.

And for 2014, the estimated prevalence of mental health disorders among five to 16-year-olds in the borough is 2,389, 10 per cent of people in the age group.

Donna Melling, English teacher at Tuition Service, said: "This project is integral to everything we do here at Tuition.

"The students have responded with enthusiasm and are rising to the challenge in an amazing fashion.

"Our pupils are given the freedom to explore the challenges they face in a safe environment and this project just highlights that.

“I can see the pupils growing in confidence, but above all else, they have had fun exploring the power of words."

Lynn, a mental health activist, added: “It must be noted that, given my own mental health issues, I can only hope that I am helping these talented students as much as they are helping me.”

Earlier this year, Tuition Service showed its commitment to raising mental health and wellbeing awareness by becoming an ‘emotionally healthy’ school.

The St Helens Emotionally Healthy Schools Project is supported by St Helens Council and the local CCG, and is based on national guidance developed by Public Health England alongside the Department for Education.

Rob Vaughan, teacher in charge at the Tuition Service, added: "Our students are at the heart of everything we do here and have offered brilliant ideas as to how we can help reduce stigma and raise awareness of mental and emotional health challenges that they can experience.

“I'm excited to see the students' ideas come to life and to see the impact the project will have on everybody here at Tuition."