At William Barnes, we aim to promote positive mental health and well-being for our whole school community; pupils, staff, parents and carers, and recognise how important mental health and emotional well-being is to our lives in just the same way as physical health.
We recognise that children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement. Persistent mental health problems may lead to pupils having significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of those of the same age.
Our role in school is to ensure children are able to manage times of change and stress, be resilient, are supported to reach their potential and access help when they need it. We also have a role to ensure that pupils learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health, how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and where they can go if they need help and support.
Our aim is to help develop the protective factors which build resilience to mental health problems and be a school where
- all pupils are valued
- pupils have a sense of belonging and feel safe
- pupils feel able to talk openly with trusted adults about their problems without feeling any stigma
- positive mental health is promoted and valued
- bullying is not tolerated
We have 2 very experienced ELSA’s within school as well Mental Health First Aiders who are always on hand to support both pupils, staff and parents.
We monitor and assess our children’s and staff’s wellbeing through regular observations and surveys.
“Well-being is the beautiful stage in which children can be when they feel OK. They feel at ease. They radiate. They are open to anything that comes in.”
We put support in place for those members of our school that need it to ensure they are emotionally ready to learn and thrive as members of our community.
Through assemblies and workshops, the children focus on ‘The Five Steps to Wellbeing’ which helps the children look after both their physical and mental health. Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
For further information about ‘The Five Steps to Wellbeing’, follow the link- https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/five-steps-to-mental-wellbeing/
Mindfulness is being able to observe your own thoughts and feelings as they happen, in the present moment, applying no judgement. We use the PSHE programme called ‘Jigsaw’. It teaches children to understand their thoughts and feelings through the Calm Me time exercises (using the Jigsaw Chime) and Pause Points (using Jigsaw Jerrie Cat).
Services and websites
Below you will find a variety of services that offer support locally, nationally and online.
The purpose of sharing this information is you are in a better position to understand and be supportive of the child’s needs and possible behaviours. The links below not only support children but also adults in maintaining their wellbeing and mental health.
https://www.comparethemarket.com/broadband/content/screen-usage-guide/ (understanding screen addiction)
Please come and see me if you need any additional support or advice to support yourself and/or your child’s wellbeing.
A Note from Dr. Hull
As you will have heard, the government is recommending that we all take some exercise each day in order to maintain our physical health and well being.
However, in these demanding times, our mental health is equally if not more important.
Practicing Yoga had a huge effect on my physical and mental wellbeing and I felt bereft at not being able to practise each morning as had become my habit. So at this point, I turned to meditation and this has been part of my life ever since.
Recently, I enrolled for a course in Mindfulness. A number of friends of mine working in mental health had completed the internationally recognised ‘Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy” course originally developed by John Kabat Zinn. The courses are recommended by the NHS for people suffering with anxiety, stress and depression.
Essentially, you learn the Mindfulness practices in the face to face sessions and then practise them at home. You need a quiet space and some headphones and your phone. The practices are all guided. The words are very carefully chosen and guide you to a state of mind where your common everyday thoughts are stopped, giving your mind a chance to rejuvenate and rest. When you finish, you feel refreshed and invigorated, a bit like a really good night’s sleep.
Below are the various recordings I have been given. Please feel free to download them and try them out for your self.
Mindfulness stretch breath meditation
Mindfulness 3 minute breathing
Mindfulness 3 minute breathing 2
So, if you are stuck at home at the moment then this is a perfect time to improve your mental well being using the resources above. Good luck. Mr. Hull
A pod cast that I have enjoyed and that will help you to stay positive and mentally well at the moment is –
The Happiness Lab – A Yale Professor Dr Laurie Santos discovered that her students were not happy at University. To help them, she created a course to help, and it was the most popular course ever run at the University. Since then she has developed her course into a pod cast. Each week she talks to different experts about specific aspects of happiness and well being to produce a really high quality documentary series.
Finally an APP you might enjoy. Tired of hearing the news and its constantly defeatist narrative – try ‘Good News’ – an app that trawls the media for positive and hope giving news stories and then pulls them together into a single uplifting news bulletin. Search on the APP store for ‘Good news’. Several options come up but the one I prefer is tagged ‘Your daily dose of optimism.’