Mental Health & Well-Being
As a school we place an emphasis on the value of mental health and wellbeing.
Our PSHE curriculum includes units on understanding the various factors that can affect our wellbeing – physical, mental or both – such as healthy and respectful relationships, identity, body image and social media, plus practical advice on coping strategies.
We also promote ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ and model the concept of getting ‘mindfit’ by highlighting the various active and creative ways that staff maintain their mental health and wellbeing. A recent survey gave students the opportunity to share their perspectives and to indicate if they would benefit from a conversation with their tutor, head of year or one of our pastoral support coordinators.
Accessing support for you or your child
There are various organisations offering support for parents on how to support a child with mental health needs, or for parents who have mental health needs themselves.
Mental health resources for parents
You may find the attached documents offer some useful advice. The Hampshire CAMHS website (www.hampshirecamhs.nhs.uk) has a wealth of information, including leaflets and videos, on how you can support your child.
CAMHS ‘Best Version of You'
From November 2021 to April 2022, every student in the school will spend one day each week working through activities in the CAMHS-produced booklet ‘Best Version of You’. Students will have their own copy of the booklet, which is available in electronic form here. We encourage parents and carers to ask their child to share what has been covered each week.
Mental Health Week 1 2021/22: Anxiety
Our first Mental Health Week of the academic year focused on anxiety: what it is, and what it isn’t; why we need anxiety; how to deal with physical symptoms of anxiety.
A video assembly was used to introduce Mental Health Week to the students, and included the key message that we ALL have mental health. During Mental Health Week, students looked at causes of mental health difficulties, the physiological necessity for anxiety in humans (we wouldn’t have made it this far without it!) and a ‘Ted Talk’ presentation which highlights an anxiety sufferer’s realisation that anxiety is an emotion rather than an illness. Students also practised strategies which can help them to regulate their breathing if they are feeling anxious.
Introduction assembly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwetNqpH0pA
We all have mental health: https://youtu.be/DxIDKZHW3-E
Box breathing: https://youtu.be/eRubYXujOx4
MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 2 2021/22: PHYSICAL WELL BEING, STIGMA AND TALKING
The second Mental Health Week of the year looked at three key areas: the benefits of looking after ourselves physically; tackling stigma; the importance of talking.
(Trailer for Prince William documentary on mental health - 3 minutes)
(Full Prince William documentary - 52 minutes)
(Roman Kemp documentary - 57 minutes]
Mental Health Week 3 2021/22: Sleep, Diet and Exercise
In our final Mental Health Week of the year, we began by reminding students that we ALL have mental health, and that – even if we aren’t struggling with anything – the best approach to mental health is to take as many steps as possible to look after ourselves physically as well as mentally. We asked students to reflect on their sleep patterns, and advised them on the benefits of regular, quality sleep; similarly, we asked students to reflect on what they typically eat each day and shared some insights regarding the impact of too much processed food on our overall wellbeing. Towards the end of the week we repeated key messages about the benefits of exercise and/or creative hobbies and interests (instead of phone-gazing), and encouraged students to spend the half-term break making the most of the spring weather by getting outdoors and enjoying plenty of fresh air.
Mental Health Week 1 2022/23: Resilience
Each day, tutors explored a different element of the topic. We began with a recap of what anxiety is (and isn’t), and why it’s essential to our very existence; in fact, rather than trying to rid ourselves of it, we need to learn to appreciate the benefits it brings to many facets of our lives. As the week progressed, we looked at examples of people who have learned to embrace anxiety as a sign that our body is getting ready to take on a new challenge, rather than telling us we can’t do something. The week concluded with an emphasis on resilient behaviours: how we can channel positivity, use adrenaline to our advantage, draw upon support from others and remind ourselves of times we have overcome seemingly challenging situations.
Please refer to the slides below which are in PDF format.
MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 2 2022/23: ADOLESCENCE
We focused on the development of the teenage brain, looking at how different parts of it develop at different speed – specifically, the risk-taking part of our brain develops much faster than the rational, logical, cautious part. We also looked at self-image, and the common misconception that other people are bothered about what we look like, how we dress, etc. At the start of the week we had a guest speaker, Ben Smith, who ran 401 marathons in 401 days to boost his own mental health but to also raise money for two anti-bullying charities; we finished the week with a focus on using exercise to generate positive mental health.
Mental Health Week 3 2022/23: The Stress Bucket
This week, we looked at the theory behind the ‘stress bucket’. We all have stress factors to deal with in life, so it’s important to balance them with activities which are creative and/or active. Students were reminded of the benefits of breathing techniques, and given the opportunity to practise how to ‘write it out’ (writing down our thoughts and feelings can be a very powerful way to release emotions as opposed to ‘bottling them up’). We also looked at the mutual gains from acts ok kindness towards others: one of the best ways to feel good is to do something for others. At the end of the week, students designed their own ‘stress bucket’