Mental health refers to how we think, feel, and behave. Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘well-being’.
Everyone has mental health just as we have physical health and it is just as important to look after them both.
There has been a stigma attached to mental health as in the past it has sometimes been viewed as a negative aspect and related only to mental health problems.
At St Alban’s School, we believe it is important to improve the communication around mental health in order to reduce the stigma. We recognise that it is good to talk about how we are feeling and we actively encourage this.
We all have times when we don’t feel as happy as usual, we may feel stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us. We also recognise that people are different and some people may bounce back from a setback while others may feel weighed down by it for a long time. It is important to understand that our mental health doesn’t always stay the same and it often changes as circumstances in our life change.
As a school community, we strive to support those with mental health difficulties and provide strategies and support to help within school and when necessary, from external agencies.
At St Alban’s School, we are also dedicated to promoting positive mental health for all children, their families and staff. Research has shown that good mental health helps us to cope well with everyday life, manage challenging situations and form and maintain good relationships as well as many other elements. (Mentally Healthy Schools). We have been working on an accreditation with the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, where we are delighted to have been awarded a Bronze Award. Through doing this, we are demonstrating a deep commitment to working towards excellent practice as we place the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff at the core of our school. This is alongside our commitment to having a rich whole school culture where all members of our school community can thrive.
One way of keeping mentally healthy is through creativity.
We are proud to have taken part in Place 2 Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week, where we celebrated creativity by doing activities that allow the children to express themselves, both in school and at home. This included many different creative activities from painting and drawing, to expressive dance, writing, den building and baking. We have seen first hand how creative our children can be and have watched them enjoying themselves as they share their creative ideas. We recognise the current climate has been difficult for many, and yet we have seen smiles on faces and children enjoying themselves.
The Coronavirus pandemic has been a time of anxiety and added stress for most people. As a school, we are committed to helping our children and their families through this current crisis. Here are some websites that you may find helpful.
ChildLine have launched “Calmzone” to help children and young people suffering from anxiety. A fantastic site with practical ideas and strategies to use with children – adults can make use of them too!
Qwell – a free online Mental Health and Wellbeing platform for adults that offers articles and advice on a range of issues, as well as providing the opportunity to chat to an online counsellor confidentially and to also be part of a supportive online community and live forums.
Bridge the Gap – an organisation dedicated to supporting the mental health of children, parents and teachers in Derby City. Access to useful resources and strategies to use with children, guidance and support and some free drop in sessions.
A useful guide for parents and carers from the Mental Health Foundation