Mental health and wellbeing
At Banister Primary School, we believe in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive.
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 positively to their community.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.
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.
Who has mental health?
We all have mental health – Mental health is a spectrum! 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, but this is all part of mental health.
How do we support mental health?
Our culture of nurturing children and building resilience to mental health problems means our School is a safe place where:
- Every child feels valued;
- Every child has a sense of belonging;
- Every child feels able to talk openly with trusted members of staff about their problems;
- Positive mental health is promoted;
- Bullying is not tolerated.
We recognise the importance of supporting positive mental health and wellbeing to the whole School community.
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.
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 or let our office know that you wish to talk to someone about mental health, and we will always get back to you.
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.
Levels of support
- Universal Support– To meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos, school values and our wider curriculum. For instance, developing resilience for all.
- Additional support– For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as separation or bereavement.
- Targeted support– For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such referral to wider professionals.
Looking after yourself
If things are getting you down, it is 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 do not 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.
We have published our resource document to help you find the support, information or resources that you might need and provide you with contact numbers and text services to support you, but we always recommend that if you think you are struggling with your mental health to make an appointment to talk with your GP. They always know best and have access to a much wider range of materials and support than we do!
At Banister Primary we believe that positive mental health is everybody’s responsibility.