Christmas Debate 2018
Following the success of last year’s event, OSFC welcomed back the Christmas Debate in association with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Health Young Minds. Over 200 students chose to attend and participate in the debate: The House believes we should be responsible for our own behaviour. The event opened with a VoxVote which allowed the audience and panel members to gauge the general opinion of the attendees. A majority of 64% agreed with the statement with 11.5% disagreeing and 24.5% unsure.
The debate alternated arguments for and against the statement, with five panellists including NHS staff, Dr Mawada Adam, Ian Duncan and Lisa Slater, Farzana Islam (OSFC student) and Oldham Youth Council member, Megan Birchall. OSFC students had the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments for the panellists to address before a second opinion poll was taken. At the end of the debate, the audience’s perception had changed with an increased number of students now siding with the opposition’s viewpoint and disagreeing with the statement (48% for, 25% against and 27% remaining unsure).
Roshelle Ramkisson, event organiser, feels that “The annual Christmas Debate for Young People is an amazing collaboration, between health and education, to raise awareness during the critical period of development in adolescence on key topics that impact on our wellbeing. The event is a platform that provides the opportunity for students to consider, participate and engage in a discussion about mental health. It raises awareness, tackles stigma and shares powerful messages by providing young people the facts and a voice. The event has been strengthened with the involvement this year of a college student, Farzana, and Megan, a service user from Healthy Young Minds, on the panel. They were joined by psychiatrists and CAMHS practitioners. The event itself is an open invitation to the students and it is overwhelming to see the auditorium fill up, showing that young people really are interested. The success of the event was evident listening to the opinions and contributions of students. The participation of the audience in a positive atmosphere whilst discussing crucial issues like mental illness, environmental stresses, social influences, genetics, mental capacity and responsibility was valued. A special thank you to Oldham Sixth Form College for hosting and supporting the efforts to raise awareness about mental health.”