Mental Health and Wellbeing
What’s mental health?
We all have mental health. Your mental health affects how you feel, think and act. It refers to your emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Your mental health can change on a daily basis and over time, and can be affected by a range of factors.
It’s important to look after your mental health, as you would look after your physical health. Your state of wellbeing affects how you cope with stress, relate to others and make choices. It also plays a part in your relationships with your family, community, colleagues and friends.
Good mental health among children and young people
When children and young people have good levels of wellbeing it helps them to:
- learn and explore the world
- feel, express and manage positive and negative emotions
- form and maintain good relationships with others
- cope with, and manage, change, setbacks and uncertainty
- develop and thrive.
When children and young people look after their mental health and develop their coping skills it can help them to boost their resilience, self-esteem and confidence. It can also help them learn to manage their emotions, feel calm, and engage positively with their education – which can, in turn, improve their academic attainment.
How schools can support children and young people’s mental health
Schools are the ideal environment to promote and support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.
Most children and young people spend a significant amount of time in school and with their teachers, which means that school staff are in a good position to identify a child who may be struggling, and help refer them to get the support they need.
Schools can also help children develop social and emotional skills, providing them with the coping skills and tools they need to understand and manage their thoughts, feelings, behaviour, goals and relationships.
Schools can do this through teaching health and wellbeing education (RSHE) and weaving these topics and skills throughout the broader curriculum and school life. Health and wellbeing shouldn’t be taught in isolation but reinforced throughout the curriculum and the time that the child or young person is in school.
At St. Teresa’s we use the 8 principles, as outlined by Public Health England, to promote a whole school approach to emotional health and wellbeing.
If you have any concerns about your child, you can make an appointment with Miss McCandless, our Mental Health Lead. Miss McCandless has had DfE Senior Mental Health Lead training, Mental Health First Aider training and Emotionally Friendly Schools support.
Please click the links below for resources to support your child.
Guidance for parents on delivering mentally healthy schools activities – Please read this guidance before starting any mental health or wellbeing activities.
Helping Children reframe negative thoughts – This simple activity will show children how to reframe their thinking around a negative situation, and look for positive ways to view the situation.
Identifying Emotions Game – Playing this game can enable children to discuss their emotions freely and increase an awareness into our thoughts and feelings. We can explain to our children that we experience all emotions at different times and there is no ‘right or wrong’ way to feel. Model talking about emotions in a positive way – no one is expected to feel ‘happy’ all the time.
N.B. Younger children will not yet be able to recognise some emotions (confused, nervous) and tend to use happy and sad lots. Try and expand their knowledge of emotions a little – angry, upset, excited. Making faces to convey these emotions can help too. The ‘mood monster’ cards can help with this exercise.
Emotions Wheel – See ‘Identifying Emotions Game’ description. The emotion wheel can be used with children of all ages who are struggling to express their current feelings. By identifying an image they can convey their current feelings. Using the wheel regularly throughout the day will help children and young people see the changing nature of their feelings and can help reduce anxiety around feeling a certain way. It could be helpful for this activity to be modelled by adults before use.
How to make a Self Soothe Box – f your child is experiencing feelings of worry or anxiety a self-soothe box can really help. For primary children, the box can be a little project to do with parents. Decorating the box and talking about what can go in it is something that children will enjoy and give them ownership of the box.
This article gives ideas of what could go in the box. Using it can reduce feelings of low mood or worry and increase positivity/lift mood.
Anxiety Tools for Parents – Tools to help support your child with any anxiety they might be feeling.
Anxiety Thermometer – We can experience anxiety at different levels and intensities, and at times it can feel really uncomfortable and scary. A helpful strategy is becoming aware of what level our anxiety is at. If we can develop an understanding of our anxiety or worries, then this is the first step in learning strategies to manage or cope better.
Anxiety may be triggered by different situations, and so using this tool can also help us recognise what situations make us feel more anxious or worried than others.
Meditation and Relaxation Activities
Meditation and Relaxation Activities
Parenting Smart (Place2Be)
The children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, have a parenting smart website aimed at helping parents with typical situations they can find themselves in with their children.
Advice can be found on over forty topics including:
- Understanding sibling rivalry
- My child is lying, what does it mean, what should I do?
- My child has trouble going to sleep
- My child says ‘I hate you!’
- Cultural identity: who am I?
The Parenting Smart website can found here: https://parentingsmart.place2be.org.uk/