Mental Health and Wellbeing
At St Mary’s our Mission Statement and School Values support the mental health and well being of our whole school community.
“St Mary’s…. feeding the mind, body and spirit so we can be the best we can be.”
We foster everyone’s potential and hunger for learning by serving up a wonderful diet of generosity, sharing and a sense of belonging. We are here to serve our community and we welcome children from all faiths and none.
Sit around the table at St Mary’s and you will discover a warm welcome and a great community!
The Spiritual Values to which we aspire are:
Kindness: in treating others as we would want to be treated ourselves.
Truth: in the choices we make and in our dealings with family, friends, school and community.
Courage: to stand up for what is right, overcome our fears and aspire to make a positive change.
Hope: about the future and know that tomorrow can be even better than today.
Love: for ourselves and others, knowing that God loves us.
Who has mental health?
We all have mental health – some people call this emotional health or wellbeing. Mental wellbeing can be defined as feeling good, feeling that life is going well, and feeling able to get on with daily life. When you feel the opposite of this you could be having mental health challenges or difficulties.
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 contribute 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. This could be because we are more open about mental health now than we were in the past or because of additional pressures in modern life.
The list below contains things that can help keep children and young people mentally well:
These other factors are also important and echo our school values:
What happens in school?
In school, we teach children about what it means to have good mental health and wellbeing through our mission statement, school values, curriculum and daily practice.
Our spiral PSHE curriculum focuses on developing children’s social and emotional skills and supports them to live out the school values in their daily interactions with others. Our assemblies regularly talk about mental health and well-being and the pupils have opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas.
Each child is encouraged to identify two trusted adults to who they could turn to in a time of need. All children are regularly asked how they are feeling and St Mary’s has ‘Zones of Regulation’ in each class. These zones help children to identify their emotional state and gives them strategies to help support them if they are experiencing difficulties. This in turn leads to a ‘common language’ in school where pupils are able to articulate their mental health needs in an open manner.
What if I need support at home?
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 please come and talk to us.
Looking after yourself
If you are experiencing difficulties yourself then we are here to listen. Your GP can also be a useful point of contact and will have access to talking therapies.
Please see the weblinks below for further advice and information that you may find helpful.
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families