Mental Health and Wellbeing
At Hillmorton Primary School, we believe in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to ensure that our school is a community where everybody feels able to thrive. Our school ethos and values underpin everything that we do.
Who has Mental Health?
We all have mental health – some people call this emotional health or wellbeing.
What is Mental Health?
The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual achieves their potential, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.
Good mental health and wellbeing is just as important as good physical health. Like physical health, mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy to unwell; it can fluctuate on a daily basis and change over time.
Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. It is thought that this is probably because of changes in the way that we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up alongside the ongoing impact of the global pandemic.
What can support our mental health?
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
- being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
- having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
- being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
- going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
- taking part in local activities for young people.
Other factors are also important, including:
- feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
- being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
- being hopeful and optimistic
- being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
- accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
- having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
- feeling they have some control over their own life
- having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.
What happens in school?
In school, we teach children about what it means to have good mental health and wellbeing throughout our curriculum and daily practice.
Our PSHE curriculum focuses specifically on developing children’s social and emotional skills which can prevent poor mental health from developing and help all children cope effectively with setbacks and remain healthy. It is about helping children to understand and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and build skills that help them to thrive, such as working in a team, persistence, and self-awareness.
At our school we:
- help children to understand their emotions and feelings better
- help children feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
- help children socially to form and maintain relationships
- promote self-esteem and ensure children know that they count
- encourage children to be confident and ‘dare to be different’
- help children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks
Young Peer Wellbeing Champions
We are delighted to be one of 40 schools across Warwickshire taking part in the Young Peer Wellbeing Champions Programme Pilot. Children across the school are being trained as Wellbeing Champions.
Young Peer Wellbeing Champions aim to:
- Promote a healthy lifestyle, wellbeing and resilience
- Work with staff / pupils to develop and promote wellbeing
- Be a good role model and listener
- Reduce stigma by talking about feelings and emotions
They are learning:
- How to promote wellbeing and positive mental health throughout the year
- The key skills needed to be a champion
- How to signpost their peers to support
- What confidentiality and safeguarding mean and what to do
What if my child is experiencing difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing?
Mental health doesn’t mean being happy all the time and neither does it mean avoiding stresses altogether. One of the most important ways to help your child is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously.
In many instances, children and young people’s negative feelings and worries usually pass with the support of their parents and families. It is helpful for the school to know what they are going through at these times, so that staff can be aware of the need and support this.
Coping and adjusting to setbacks are critical life skills for children, just as they are for adults, but it is important that they develop positive, rather than negative, coping skills.
If you are ever worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing then, just as you would about any concerns that you have about their learning, come and talk to us. Sometimes children will need additional support for a short period – this may be in the form of a daily check-in with a trusted adult, time to talk through what they are feeling and support in developing ways of moving forwards with this.
If your child is distressed for a long time, if their negative feelings are stopping them from getting on with their lives, if their distress is disrupting family life or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways you would not expect at their age, then please speak to your child's teacher or the pastoral team in school.
What can your child can do in school to gain Mental Wellbeing?
- Be open and talk about their feelings with friends.
- Associate themselves with positive people.
- Join an afterschool club.
- Speak to a member of staff.
- Tell the Safeguarding and Wellbeing Team.
- Get physically active (a Health body and mind are closely linked).
Advice for Parents
If you have an urgent mental health concern regarding a child/family in school, please contact the school by phone, email or in person using the usual school contact details.
Looking after yourself
If things are getting you down, it’s important to recognise this. Talk to someone you trust and see what they think. It is easy to go on struggling with very difficult situations because you feel that you should be able to cope and don’t deserve any help.
Come and talk to us, in confidence and let us know when things are tough. As much as you try to hide how you are feeling from your child, they will notice even the smallest changes.
Go to your GP if things are really getting on top of you. Asking for some support from your doctor or a referral to a counselling service is a sign of strength. You can’t help your child if you are not being supported yourself.
Useful Links to Local Websites and Organisations that can provide support for Mental Health and Wellbeing
Coventry and Warwickshire Mind - information and support for people living with a mental health problem
Rugby Wellbeing Hub - operating locally twice a week
Warwickshire Children and Families Website - links to specialist support and information across Coventry and Warwickshire
Kooth - Online mental wellbeing community for young people aged 11-25
Coventry and Warwickshire Rise - a family of NHS-led services providing emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people in Coventry and Warwickshire.