Mental Health & Wellbeing
An important consideration in school is looking after the Mental Health of both our students and our staff.
‘We all have ‘mental health’: it’s like breathing or blood pressure. Everybody is sad at times, everybody gets moody, everybody has good days, or bad days, or feels anxious before an exam, or devastated by bereavement or divorce, but it’s important to emphasise that these are normal emotional responses.
Sir Simon Wessely (President of the Royal Society of Medicine & Regius Professor of Psychiatry, Kings College, London) states:
“There’s no question that levels of awareness of mental health problems have gone up in the population, but this can sometimes be a two-edged sword. Being able to use social media to seek support, or admit that you feel down, or anxious, or that you have concerns about your sexuality is a good thing, but it is equally important to be able to distinguish between the normal emotions that make us feel human, and the conditions that are clinical and require treatment.”
At William Howard School our aim is to support young people so that they develop into resilient and rounded individuals with the self-awareness to recognise when things are not going well. The work we are doing will also give them self-help strategies so that they take responsibility for their own wellbeing and will know where to go to, should they need to seek further help.
In addition to our existing pastoral team, a number of staff have been trained in Mental Health First Aid. Our Wellbeing Champions wear the green ribbon badge (the symbol of the Mental Health Foundation). Students can easily identify these staff when they need to talk about their wellbeing. To find out more about Mental Health First Aid visit: https://mhfaengland.org/.
Carlisle and Eden Mind have trained a number of our Sixth Form students as Wellbeing Ambassadors. They lend support to peers in the younger year groups and run special sessions on Wednesdays. Any student can pop in for an informal and supportive chat.
Our WHS ‘Six Steps to Wellbeing’ is in the students’ planners (diaries) along with our ‘Wellbeing Self Help’ guide that has links to supportive advice through age appropriate websites: Wellbeing pages from the student planners
Sources of Help and Information:
NHS Five Steps to Mental Wellbeing – This is the inspiration behind our ‘WHS Six Steps to Wellbeing’. You can click on the links behind each section for more information: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/
MindEd – Are you a parent or carer who is concerned about the mental health of your child or teenager? Do you just want some hints and tips on parenting? MindEd for Families has advice and information from trusted experts and will help you to understand what problems occur, what you can do to best support your family, and how to take care of yourself. MindEd for Families is written by a team of specialists and parents, working together. https://www.minded.org.uk/
Public Health Cumbria 5 to 19 – A wealth of information with fact sheets for parents and young people on health, illness, digital wellbeing, mental health and wellbing, smoking drugs and alcohol and relationships, puberty and sex. https://cumbria.gov.uk/ph5to19/offer.asp
Family Lives – is a national family support charity providing help and support in all aspects of family life. We’re here for you. We listen, support and never judge. We believe that happy children come from happy families. https://www.familylives.org.uk/
The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust – has free resources for parents and professionals and others interested in mental and emotional wellbeing including an emotionally healthy approach to GCSEs, social media and teenagers and self-harm and depression. https://www.cwmt.org.uk/resources
Childline for Younger Children – Childline has launched a website aimed at children under the age of 12. This provides a range of age appropriate content and includes games and therapeutic tools for young visitors to play and express how they are feeling. It will be promoted through the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay safe programme. https://www.childline.org.uk/kids
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – Self-care is about the things we can do to look after our own mental health. Young people say that when they are struggling they are usually told to see a professional. They don’t often get much advice about how they could help themselves. This organization spoke to professionals and looked at academic research, then drew up a list of strategies young people use. (www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/)
Carlisle and Eden Branch of MIND have compiled a Mental Health Resource Booklet, which lists support organisations their contact details, as well as useful Apps for both young people and their families.
Asking for Help
Talking about problems is the best way to get the support. Often, someone else can help you see things differently. They can help you change things that are upsetting you, or give you new ideas to cope. Once you tell someone, they can be there for you in the future too.
From the Childline Website:
From the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust Website:
The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) assess and treat children and young people up to the age of 18 (and their families), who show signs of mental health difficulties. Download their document to find out about the services and help they offer, as well useful links to other support: https://cdn.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/uploads/leaflets/CH011-CAMHS.pdf
CAMHS website: https://www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/our-services/mental-health/our-mental-health-services/child-adolescent-mental-health-services)
Wellbeing During Exams
We all know that exams can be an extremely challenging and stressful time. If you’re struggling to manage your mood or anxiety levels, don’t keep it to yourself. Friends and family members can be a great source of support, as well as your teachers, the WHS Wellbeing Champions and our Sixth Form Mental Health Ambassadors.
These websites have lots of advice on taking care of yourself during revision, examinations, and waiting for the results:
https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/support – Whether you’re revising, waiting for your exam results, prepping for a job interview or just feeling a bit stressed, we’ve asked those who’ve been through it to share their wisdom.
https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/exam-self-care/ – While revising for exams, we’re often advised to take time out and look after our mental health but how can we do this? Our activist, Rose, shares her favourite ways.
https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/bbc-learning-launches-the-mind-set/ – The Mind Set provides information and support on how to manage exam stress. Advice comes from 12 trusted student coaches who have been through it before. They have made videos about their experiences, including about looking after their mental health, and they have also shared their stories with listeners on Radio 1’s Live Surgery.