Mental Health & Wellbeing
At Brundall School, we know that our role is to ensure that pupils are able to manage times of change and stress, and that they are supported to reach their potential or access help when they need it. We also have a role to ensure that pupils learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health, how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and where they can go if they need help and support.
What is Mental Health and Wellbeing?
We use the World Health Organisation’s definition of mental health and wellbeing “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.
Whole School Approach
We take a whole school approach to promoting positive mental health and ensuring the pupil are positive, resilient and able to deal with the stresses of the school day. We aim to create a school environment which is open and supportive with a positive culture where pupils feel comfortable discussing a range of issues.
Mental Health and Wellbeing is not just the absence of Mental Health problems. We want all pupils to:
- Feel confident in themselves and realise their own abilities
- Cope with the stresses of everyday life
- Work productively and being able to learn and achieve
- Be able to express a range of emotions appropriately
- Be able to make and maintain positive relationships with others and make a contribution to their community
- Manage times of stress and be able to deal with change
Our aim is to help develop the protective factors which build resilience to mental health problems and to be a school where:
We Promote a Mentally Healthy Environment Through:
Access to a range of appropriate support that meets their needs
Providing opportunities to reflect both internally and where necessary with an external agency
Providing opportunities to develop a sense of worth through taking responsibility for themselves and others
Celebrating academic and non-academic achievements
Promoting pupil voice and opportunities to participate in decision-making within class and across the school
Promoting our school values and encouraging a sense of belonging
We Pursue Our Aims Through:
Specialised, targeted approaches aimed at pupils with more complex or long term difficulties including attachment disorder
Support for pupils going through recent difficulties including bereavement.
Universal, whole school approaches
Whole School Approach
We aim to create a school environment which is open and supportive with a positive culture:
Strategies to Help Children in School and Home who are Suffering from Anxiety
Praise and acknowledge accomplishments
Children who don’t have a lot of confidence tend to focus on only the negative aspects of what they are doing. Make it a point to praise and acknowledge your child when they do something correctly, both in private and in front of others.
Praise for effort
Specific and genuine praise helps children know that you’re paying attention and helps them acknowledge their own small wins. Giving short feedback or giving a round of applause for your child can make a world of difference. Praise for effort is a vital aspect of this and is more important than praise for outcome.
Create realistic expectations
Be realistic about what your child can accomplish. While it would be nice to see every child make achievements high above the norm, it’s just not attainable for some.
Setting manageable goals
Have children create their own set of goals and things they would like to accomplish during the school year, and then sit down and review their lists with them. Setting goals that are manageable and reasonable for your child can help them see how much they’ve grown. Try to personalise and create goals that represent your child.
Embrace a growth mindset
Mistakes are inevitable
No child is perfect, so mistakes are inevitable. Those with low confidence may focus on their failures and not see the progress that they’ve made.
Adopting a growth mindset
Use mistakes or failures as teaching moments for your child. Remind them that they are not defined by their shortcomings, and reassure them to keep moving forward in their studies. You may hear this practice described as adopting a growth mindset, where children move away from saying things like “not” and “can’t” to saying something more positive like “not yet“.
“If I couldn’t handle not being good at something, then how could I consider myself a successful person?”
Increase sense of ownership
Urge your child to take ownership of their learning by providing them with opportunities for decision-making when it comes to the independent tasks or rules at home. While it can be tempting to just guide children through an independent task and show them how it’s done, prompt them to reach the final answer in their own way.
“Must Do” and “May Do”
One way to do this is to create a list of “must do” and “may do” checklist for your child to complete. Sometimes, you’ll need your child to complete a certain independent task to assess their understanding, which would make it a “must do.” Then, your child can look to the “may do” list to have a choice in what they want to work on next. Children will have a greater sense of pride in their learning when they feel a sense of control.
Don’t compare one child to another
Differentiated learning and goals
Your child has their own sets of unique strengths, talents, and needs. Accept that some children will have strengths where others don’t, and don’t treat them as a homogenous group. Differentiated learning and goals can help children identify how they learn best.
Notice different strengths and learning styles
When children feel like their needs aren’t being met in the classroom and at home, they may feel like they’re not welcome. Take notice of the different strengths and learning styles your child has, and at home create an environment that fosters the unique abilities of your child. When children are in-tune with what works best in helping them learn, they may begin to empathise with each other and yourself and have open dialogue around successful strategies.
Increase the sense of responsibility
Allow your child to help others at home
Children need to feel a sense of worth and achievement both within the classroom and at home. Allow children the opportunities to help others at home and then ask them to reflect on how it made them feel and how successful they were in assisting other.
Give your child a targeted and specific job
Give your child the opportunities to feel special and like they have accomplished something through a targeted and specific job. All these strategies can help children who are struggling with anxiety.
Reflect on achievements
Identify the positives
Children need to feel like they have achieved something worthwhile. Work in opportunities throughout the day for children to reflect on what has gone well within a social situation or a piece of work or aspect of their work that they are proud of. If children begin to identify the positives, then it will give them a sense of belonging and achievement and allow them to reflect on the day.
Distract your child from anxiety
Children feel empowered if they are given the opportunities and responsibility to reflect and identify when they are feeling anxious. Families are then able to build in opportunities to allow your child to talk about something they can do which will help distract them from their anxieties. This can also mean factoring in breaks for the children affected so they can have a minute where they remove themselves from the stresses of homework or a certain task.