What is mental wellbeing?
Good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult, but it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual”. Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown
As a school, our aim is to break down the stigma that’s sometimes attached to mental health and to raise awareness of such an important area which affects, statistically, three people in the average secondary school classroom.
We take our duty in supporting students who suffer with mental health issues seriously however, we believe that it is important that students know there’s a clear distinction between having a mental illness and dealing with a difficult or traumatic period within our lives. Certain feelings, such as stress, anxiety or sadness when dealing with a bereavement, are completely natural human emotions that we all feel at some stage in our lives. Fostering a culture of ‘It’s okay not to be okay’ provides our students with the opportunity to talk openly about their feelings and to learn strategies to help cope with what they are facing.
How do we support a positive wellbeing at St Edmund Arrowsmith school?
- Form Tutors play a significant role in supporting student wellbeing. Typically, students have the same Form Tutor throughout their time at St Edmund Arrowsmith and as they see their Form Tutor on a daily basis, they are the key person who will provide support and words of encouragement.
- Senior Learning Coordinators and Assistant Learning Coordinators, make themselves available throughout the day to discuss any worries or concerns that a student has - no matter how small - and work alongside them to seek a resolution.
- We have a comprehensive Personal Development Curriculum which provide age-appropriate resources to educate our students about: what mental health is, what mental health is not and how they can better manage their own mental health and wellbeing.
- Designated ‘quiet spaces’ across the school site accessible to students if they feel overwhelmed.
- Members of our pastoral support team meet with individual students or, if appropriate, groups of students and share strategies to support them with any issues that they face.
- To enhance the provision provided by our pastoral support team, external agencies are requested into school to use their expertise to support our students. We utilise a range of services such as:
- Colour Therapy
- Play Therapy
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- EFT Therapy (tapping)
- Access to an on-site counsellor who provides swift, timely, 1:1 support for any student who may need it.
- The school has a very strong link with CAMHS. Our school link-worker is deployed effectively and acts as an additional layer within our earlier intervention and support plan. Half termly consultations with CAMHS are arranged and these meetings strategically target individual students before they reach crisis.
- We participate in national programmes and research in relation to student mental wellbeing. We are very proud to be working alongside the Anna Freud Centre in London and are actively contributing to a study on behalf of the Department for Education about mental health provision in schools.
- Peer Mentoring. Our Peer Mentoring scheme is run by our Year 10 students who receive bespoke training in ways that they can support younger students in school that may be struggling. Meetings take place once a week in an informal setting and provide students with another option of someone they can talk to.
- Our ‘Mind, Body and Soul’ Ambassadors are students who actively promote mental health and wellbeing across the school. In addition to delivering assemblies, these students are a key part of our transition programme and visit Y6 pupils in our feeder primary schools to help settle them in what can be seen as an anxious time for many young people.
- The 5 NHS wellbeing strands are actively promoted in school throughout the year. Each half term sees a focus on one of these strands and this is well advertised.
- Mental Health Awareness Week in May is celebrated in school with a number of activities and inputs taking place throughout the week which include all of our stakeholders.
The recent year has been difficult for everyone; most families will have been touched in some way by the current coronavirus pandemic. Therefore it is important to consider our students emotional wellbeing whilst at home and also when they begin their new routine as they return to learning in school. In order to support pupils during this time, form tutors will still be providing registration as normal in order to provide a friendly and reassuring face and to monitor how pupils are feeling. For those pupils who we believe to be struggling at home, in the first instance, weekly telephone calls will be made home by our pastoral team who will be on hand to provide a listening ear and use their training and experience to provide an appropriate level of support to the student and strategies to parents. In the most serious of cases, an appointment will be made in school so that students can access our 1:1 provision we would ordinarily provide in school.
As always, if staff in school have any concerns regarding the health or emotional wellbeing of any of our students, we will immediately make contact with parents/carers and work in conjunction with home to make relevant referrals to expert agencies who are better equipped to provide assistance long-term.
The following link, which can be found on the Government website, may also be useful to signpost parents to suitable support of all things COVID-19 related: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support
If you are seriously concerned about your child’s mental wellbeing, we advise that you make an emergency appointment with your GP who will be able to assist you. In the most extreme circumstances, you should visit your nearest A&E department who will provide you and your child with the support you need.
We understand how unnerving and complex issues surrounding mental health can be, not only for our students but also for their families. Below you will find a list of useful websites that provide information, guidance and support aimed at young people and their families about mental health and wellbeing.
This service offers advice to anyone worried about a child or young person under the age of 25.
Available Mon-Fri: 9:30am to 4pm (Freephone) 0808 802 5544 Crisis messenger: Text YM to 85258 (24/7)
Kooth are a free, safe and anonymous online support for young people. Go to Kooth.com and students will be able to speak to an online counsellor Monday - Friday 12pm-10pm and Saturday and Sunday 6pm - 9pm.
A free, confidential helpline available 24hrs a day: 0800 1111
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) provide some excellent resources such as videos/ mobile telephone apps for parents and pupils to support with mental health and wellbeing
The Anna Freud website provide lots of excellent information for young people, parents and schools about Children’s Mental Health.
Winston’s Wish is a charity which specialises in supporting families, parents and children with bereavement.
Anxiety UK offer an extensive range of expert help designed to help control anxiety.
Free online support for people who self-harms or are considering to do so.
This support can come from many areas of school. It might be from the form tutor or the Senior Learning Co- ordinator. However, there is also the option of speaking with Mrs Denton, Mrs Davies or Mr Webster. Please use the appropriate email addresses to make contact if you know them. If not, click here and use the drop down menu to find the person you would like to email.