Student-led mental health conference
618. Sharmarke Dhaqane
Sharmarke Dhaqane, 18, is a peer mentor from Hendon, London. He started volunteering at his own school aged just 16, before going on to act as a mentor in neighbouring schools.
In July, he organised the first-ever student run mental health conference, uniting communities from across North London and launching the Barnet Young People Mental Health Charter, which Sharmarke had negotiated with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust.
Sharmarke is now studying History at SOAS and continues to volunteer.
Sharmarke was presented with his award by the Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP, at the launch of this year’s #iWill Ambassadors programme, held at the Houses of Parliament.
In a personal letter to Sharmarke, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The progress you have made by following your passion for peer mentoring is tremendous and organising the first ‘SOS – Stamp out Stigma’ mental health conference is a great achievement.”
“Ever since I started volunteering in my local community, it became second nature to me.
“Helping others and seeing the results first hand is, I find, one of life’s greatest treasures. I’ve had the pleasure of working with inspirational people and organisations in order to successfully host Britain’s first ever student-led mental health conference and launch Barnet’s very own Young People’s Mental Health Charter.
“I feel truly honoured that my work has been recognised by Prime Minister Theresa May and I hope to carry on making a change in my community.”