We are lucky to be part of one of the oldest and largest alumni associations in the country.

There's nothing better than being able to share your experiences, and ask for advice from someone who has actually been through it, rather than a complete stranger or someone who doesn't actually get what you've been through.

Prince Harry
Chat-OSA is there for all former members of
Southend High School for Boys to have someone to chat with.

All of us have many things in common whether it be our Houses, the classrooms we were taught in, friendships we have gained and the great memories from the school.

Sadly we have also probably experienced many similar emotional upsets too. We all feel down at times but if your negative emotions last a long time or feel very severe, it may be time to reach out for help. It is estimated that up to 20% of the adult population will experience mental health issues at some point in their lifetime.

Many things can bring on these feelings such as the loss of someone or something close to us, the pressure of work or exams, financial problems or maybe some form of bullying.

It was long thought that there was a weakness in opening up to somebody to discuss that you had a problem. A "just grin and bear it" or "don't worry you'll get over it" attitude was thought to be the answer.

Some of us just stick our head in the sand and hope it will go away.

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.

Mental health issues can affect anyone of any age and we need to talk about our issues. If we don't address them in the first place they can snowball into life changing problems.

It is often said that talking is the best medicine and it is a definitely a strength not a weakness to discuss things openly whether it be with your GP, a friend, a family member or a counsellor.

If you don't feel comfortable with any of those situations then you can connect with a fellow Old Southendian through Chat-OSA. The initiative is starting with informal regular "Chin-wag" online video calls, which have brought together Old Southendians of all generations from all over the world!

You may feel alone in the world at times with your problems but being part of the OSA means you will never be alone.