What is mental and emotional wellbeing?
Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor of public health at the University of Warwick and a wellbeing expert, says: “Feeling happy is a part of mental wellbeing. But it’s far from the whole
Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are, too.
So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you.
Of course, good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult,” says Professor Stewart-Brown. “But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual.”
Our Wellbeing and Mental Health Lead is Deputy Headteacher Claire Clinton
Our Head Boy and Head Girl
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Universal Support –
To meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos and our wider curriculum. For instance, developing resilience for all. This involves implementing strategies and practices that support the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils in our school community. This internal support includes:
Supportive school culture: St Mary’s promotes a positive and inclusive culture that values wellbeing and supports positive mental health. This is achieved through initiatives such as promoting positive relationships between pupils and staff, creating a safe and welcoming environment, and encouraging pupils to express their feelings and emotions.
- We have a designated Mental Health and Well Being Lead in school that is responsible for promoting wellbeing for our staff and pupils (Mrs Clinton).
- We have a Well-being Team made up of the following staff: Mrs Clinton, Mrs Roddy, Mrs Smith, Miss Robertson, Mr Irving and Mr Carson.
- In each class we have worry boxes for pupils to share their worries with a safe adult.
- We have nominated Wellbeing Champions in each class to represent their peers.
- We have move up days, extra transition sessions and meet the teacher sessions for when a pupil is finding a class move difficult.
- We have Key Stage 2 children as sports leaders to support younger children in positive play.
- We have a range of physical lunchtime clubs and quieter lunchtime clubs to promote mental health and wellbeing and support for pupils who find busy lunchtimes stressful.
- We have mental health first aiders in order to support pupils with their needs.
- We have a positive behaviour policy in place to promote positive social behaviour.
- We include World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in the school calendar and plan activities for the whole school.
- We teach children important skills such as emotion regulation, problem-solving, and communication. These programmes are integrated into our school curriculum, and also involve training for teachers and staff to support pupils with anxiety.
- We encourage physical activity and exercise: Regular exercise can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and promote overall wellbeing. Pupils do the Daily Mile – they go outside every day to run, jog and sometimes walk at their own pace for 15 minutes every day. Every child, whatever their age, ability or circumstances takes part.
- We provide opportunities for relaxation and mindfulness: Relaxation and mindfulness techniques can be effective in reducing anxiety and promoting mental wellbeing. We offer activities such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness exercises to help pupils manage their anxiety.
Sensory rooms – We have three sensory rooms across our school. Our sensory rooms promote relaxation and can reduce stress: They provide a calming and soothing environment that can help our pupils relax and reduce their stress levels. This is especially beneficial for our pupils who may be struggling with sensory overload or anxiety. Our sensory rooms offer a variety of sensory experiences, such as light, sound, touch and movement, which help our pupils develop their sensory processing skills. The calming environment can help our pupils feel more comfortable and reduce the likelihood of outbursts or other disruptive behaviours.
Additional support – For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as bereavement. We offer mental health and wellbeing support through access to a school counsellor (Felicity Cousins)
Targeted support – For pupils who need more professional support and resources or specific targeted interventions.
External support includes:
Referrals to the School Nurse service can be made both through your GP and school. School nursing
Sunderland Mind – Young Minds if you’re worried about a child or young person under 25. You may have questions about a child’s behaviour, emotional well-being, or mental health condition.
Early Help – children and family well-being service. Parents or school can make a referral for support.
CAMHS and CYPS – Sunderland Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service is a team of professionals who offer support and advice to aid mental health and positive well-being.
Their service works with children and young people aged 0-18 who may be showing signs of emotional distress and/or behavioural difficulties. They aim to deal with such difficulties at the earliest possible stage of intervention in the hope that children and young people will develop skills and resilience to promote positive well-being.
Some useful resources to support children’s mental health are below:
Advice for parents and carers: talking mental health with young people at primary school
This leaflet, which was created alongside the Talking Mental Health Animation & Toolkit, features an introduction from our Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge who supported the You’re never too young to talk mental health campaign stating the campaign’s resources “demonstrate how we can help children express their feelings, respond appropriately, and prevent small problems from snowballing into bigger ones.”
Dealing with anxiety – https://tutorful.co.uk/guides/the-expert-guide-to-help-your-child-with-anxiety
Young minds parents’ survival guide – https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-survival-guide/
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – https://www.annafreud.org/parents/
Public Health England How Healthy Behaviour Supports Children’s Wellbeing
Mental Health Parent Leaflet Anna Freud Centre
The Anxious Child Booklet The Anxious Child
Worry Doll Instructions Worry Doll Instructions
You need to know guide for parents Mental health in children and young people with autism: A guide for parents and carers
10 key areas to happier living poster https://www.bassingbourn.cambs.sch.uk/site/bassingbourn/mentalHealthWellbeing/10-keys-to-happier-living-wall-poster.pdf
Sleep and Diet Parent Leaflet https://www.bassingbourn.cambs.sch.uk/site/bassingbourn/mentalHealthWellbeing/Sleep_and_Diet_Parent_Leaflet.pdf
Mindfulness Booklet A brief guide Mindfulness Booklet
Schools Information Pack – Bereavement https://www.bassingbourn.cambs.sch.uk/site/bassingbourn/mentalHealthWellbeing/schools_info_pack_bereavement.pdf
Young Minds Publications offers information on a variety of mental health issues from school problems to mental illness in families. https://youngminds.org.uk/shop/publications/
Young Minds Parents Guide To Support A-Z gives you advice on how to help your child with specific mental health conditions, and life events which might be negatively affecting their wellbeing. They also show you where you can get help:
Mentally Healthy Schools – Quality-assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Anxiety thermometer: Anxiety thermometer
Mindfulness calendar: Mindfulness calendar: daily five-minute activities
Parent’s Guide to Childhood Anxiety – Knowing the symptoms, how to talk to and support your child with anxiety: The Expert Parents’ Guide to Childhood Anxiety