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What is Mental Health?

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health.

Being mentally healthy means that:

  • we feel good about ourselves
  • we can make and keep positive relationships with others
  • we feel able to manage our feelings rather than feeling overwhelmed by them
  • we have interests or hobbies that we enjoy
  • we feel hopeful and positive about the future

Good mental health helps us to cope with life’s ups and downs. Sometimes it's best to ask for support from others if we need it.

Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.

Examples of things that might harm our mental health are:

  • having friendship difficulties such as lots of arguments
  • feeling under pressure at school, such as during exams
  • feeling worried about the health of a family member
  • being bullied – in person or online

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 well-being of all its pupils
  • taking part in local activities for young people

Some things that might protect and improve our mental health are:

  • having a close friend you trust, or a supportive friendship group
  • having a teacher or other staff member at school you can go to if you need help
  • enjoying time at home with your family
  • having hobbies or interests you enjoy taking part in;
  • eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep. 

It is important to remember that, just as our mental health can suffer during difficult times in our lives, it can also  recover.

What are we doing as a school to support children with their mental health?

At Picknalls First School our pupils can access the following provisions:

Nurture groups are a short-term, focused intervention for children with particular social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which are creating a barrier to learning within a mainstream class - Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem and they achieve this by immersing students in an accepting and warm environment which helps develop positive relationships with both teachers and peers. 

The Hope Project has been developed over the past five years and has positive outcomes for children that have an emotional need for support. The Hope project trains school staff to understand the mental health of young people and enhance their supportive, listening skills.

Our Play Therapist comes into school to work with individual children who need a safe place in which to express their thoughts and feelings. This facilitates the development of self esteem, problem-solving and assists children in making decisions and in accepting responsibility for these.

Mini-minds after school club is offered to Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils separately and involves activities such as; yoga, meditation, crafts, baking, friendship building and many more fun activities to promote healthy, positive minds. 

Commando Joe's character education focuses on seven core R.E.S.P.E.C.T. core life skills to promote positive behaviour and raise self-esteem through a whole school approach.

Progressive Sports support our teachers in providing an effective P.E. curriculum as well as offering a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Experts say physical activity allows children to have a better outlook on life by building confidence, managing anxiety and depression, and increasing self-esteem and cognitive skills.

The Prefects and School Council give our pupils the opportunity be more involved in their learning process and develop valuable personal and social skills such as listening skills and working with others. 

Future Plans

The staff Well-being Ambassadors meet several times a term to discuss how the provisions are working both for pupils and staff.  The ULT are currently developing a Mental Health and Well-being Policy.

Future plans include pupils becoming "Well-Being Champions" to support children who feel left out and a termly "Well-Being Day" including activities such as yoga, mindfulness colouring, PSHE lessons and baking.