St Albans teen wins national award for mental health campaigning
PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 August 2018
A teenager from St Albans has won a national award for her work raising money and awareness of mental health issues.
Amy De Castillo, who is 17 and goes to Adeyfield School in Hemel Hempstead, was presented with the Diana Award in a ceremony on Monday, July 25.
The award was established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and is the highest accolade a person aged nine to 25 can receive for social action or humanitarian work.
Amy began campaigning when she completed the National Citizens Service (NCS) summer youth empowerment programme in 2017, which she said “genuinely changed [her] life”. She went on to volunteer for the NCS regional youth board and raise money for local mental health charities, including teenage suicide prevention group the OLLIE Foundation. At school she mentors younger pupils and helps support victims of bullying.
Amy said: “My own past battles with bullying and the impact it had on my mental health inspired me to try and help other young people. NCS gave me the confidence and skills to share my story and break the stigma many of us feel.
“Receiving this award has proven that regardless of where you come from, you DO matter. The uncontrollable scenarios in life aren’t what define you, it’s your actions, kindness and compassion.
“I’m so honoured and thankful to NCS and the Diana Award for recognising that.”
Diana Award winners are presented with their certificates and invited to visit Althorp House, Princess Diana’s childhood home.
Amy was nominated by Danielle Jennings, the graduate engagement manager at Ingeus, which delivers the NCS locally.
Danielle said: “Amy’s dedicated and hard work on the NCS regional youth board has been amazing. She tirelessly supports local social action projects, fundraises and supports her peers, all while dealing with her own mental health demons.
“She is an outstanding example of a young person selflessly creating positive social change and is thoroughly deserving of this national accolade.”
The NCS takes place during the school holidays and is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds, costing £50 or less to take part. To find out more go to NCSIngeus.co.uk