Mental Health and Well-being
Mrs Watson, our Deputy Headteacher, and Mrs Burton, our Family Learning Mentor, are our Mental Health leads in school.
An introduction to Mrs Burton, our Family Learning Mentor:
As the school’s Family Learning Mentor, Mrs Burton often receives messages and calls from parents asking for advice about their child’s well-being and emotional health.
With a growing number of mental health issues in children, it is understandable that, as parents, we want to help. Latest statistics show that 1 in 10 children are affected by a mental health issue such as anxiety, depression and conduct disorder. In school, that equates to three children in every class.
What can we do?
First, we need to take a moment of reflection. As parents we lead busy lives, school run, work, after-school activities, housework, homework-the list goes on.
Are we looking after ourselves? There is a reason the air-hostess tells us to put on our oxygen masks first. We cannot help our children if we are not helping ourselves. Parenting is hard, so take a minute, find time in your day to relax and really think, what have I done today to look after me?
Reconnect with our children, put down the phone, laptop and switch that television off. Listen to them when they speak, look at your child and hear what they are saying. All behaviour comes from a feeling; listening to them when they are telling us things. Find the feeling behind what they are saying and state it. “It seems to me like you might be feeling...” “I wonder if you are feeling…” If you have the wrong emotion, they will tell you. By doing this, you are opening a conversation with your child and the likelihood is they will tell you more, but they also feel appreciated and understood. Asking children questions like “I wonder how you might handle that differently next time?” allows them to reflect and next time an issue comes up they are more likely to remember a different way to manage the situation independently. This promotes self-confidence and self-esteem, which in turn will reduce anxiety in children.
It is amazing how much brighter we feel after seeing our children smile and laugh. Play a game, take a walk, have a cuddle. You will be surprised as to how much conversation this encourages. Offer your child information about your day, what you had to eat, something you found difficult. We are our children’s role models. They need to know we find things hard too.