Emotional Well-Being and Mental Health
Our Mental Health First Aiders
At St George's CE Academy, we are committed to promoting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of all pupils, staff and our parents.
If you would like to speak to anyone in school, our Mental Health First Aiders are:
Mrs A Taylor
Mrs J Skirving
Our Family Liaison Officer
Our Family Liaison Officer at St George's is Angela Markham. If you need any support, why not call in and ask to see Angela. She is always on hand with a listening ear and not forgetting that important cup of tea and a biscuit. A problem shared is a problem halved!
Our Statement of Intent
"We believe that paying more attention to the present moment - to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you."
This can improve your mental wellbeing. We believe well being is all about our holistic health including physical and emotional.
At St George's we are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our pupils, staff and families to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive. Positive mental wellbeing is essential if children and young people are to flourish and lead fulfilling lives.
At our school, we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
Over 50% of mental illnesses start before the age of 14 and 1 in 10 children and young people has a mental health disorder (Public Mental Health, 2014). Recent survey results found that 12.5% (one in eight) of 5 to 19 year olds, surveyed in England in 2017, had a mental disorder (NHS, 2017).
“Mental health is a state of well-being 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,” (World Health Organization, 2014).
Two key elements to support good mental health are:
- Feeling Good – experiencing positive emotions like happiness, contentment and enjoyment. Including feelings like curiosity, engagement and safety.
- Functioning Well – how a person is able to function in the world, this includes positive relationships and social connections, as well as feeling in control of your life and having a sense of purpose.
Our role in school is to ensure that children 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. Children are taught when to seek help, what help is available, and the likely outcome of seeking support so that they have the confidence and knowledge for themselves or others. We also have a role to ensure that children learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health and how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. As part of our targeted provision, we have and continue to access, outside help and support for pupils when required through our partnership with Darlington Mental Support Team.
At St George's we believe that teaching about mental health and emotional wellbeing as part of a comprehensive PSHE and RSHE education curriculum is vital. PSHE plays a central role in developing the whole child and assists pupils to cope with the changes at puberty, introduces them to a wider world, manage transitions and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities.
The concepts covered in PSHE include keeping safe and managing risk, identity, equality, managing feelings and emotions, relationships, change, resilience and being healthy, which includes physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. We aim to promote pupils’ wellbeing through an understanding of their own and others’ emotions and the development of healthy coping strategies.
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. Children at St George's have weekly lessons of PE. A wide range of sport-related after school clubs are run by teachers and external coaches, whilst many of our pupils take part in inter-school sporting competitions which include an extensive range of sports and activities. Our proficient Schools Sports Organising Crew are excellent at leading activities and games during play times to encourage higher levels of physical activity and promote inclusion.
We include World Mental Health Day, Children's Mental Health Week and Mental Health Awareness Week in the school calendar and plan activities for the whole school
Five Ways to Well-Being
The focus of '5 Ways To Wellbeing' is to encourage the children to build five easy steps into their daily lives to help them take good care of their own mental health. Research tells us that this can make a real positive difference to the mental health and wellbeing of both children and adults alike and can help build confidence and resilience.
The 5 Ways to Wellbeing are – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give:
The 5 Ways in action:
Connect with the people around you. Talk and listen to family, friends, teachers and neighbours.
Be Active: Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Go to a sports club. Play a game.
Take Notice: Appreciate the things around you. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Enjoy the moment.
Keep Learning: Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Take on a new responsibility in your home, school or community.
Give: Do something nice for a friend. Thank someone. Volunteer your time.
Why the 5 Ways work:
Connect: Strengthening relationships with others and feeling close to and valued by others, is critical to boosting wellbeing.
Be Active: Being physically active, including at school and at home, improves physical health and can improve mood and wellbeing and decrease stress, depression and anxiety.
Take Notice: Paying more attention to the present moment, to thoughts and feelings and to the world around, boosts our wellbeing.
Keep Learning: Being curious and seeking out new experiences at home and at school and in life more generally positively stimulates the brain.
Give: Carrying out acts of kindness, whether small or large, can increase happiness, life satisfaction and general sense of wellbeing.
The 5 Ways To Wellbeing information is freely available for parents on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk. There is a copy of the 5 Ways posters below with some top tips and links to helpful websites. You can also find further information about supporting your child at https://www.youngminds.org.uk/parent/. We hope that you find this guidance useful.
Action for Happiness - Promoting Positivity
Each month, Action for Happiness issues a new calendar with mindfulness and well-being ideas linked for the focus of each month. This is a great way of getting your whole family involved in developing well-being strategies and ideas.
Action for Happiness - January 2023
Daily actions to help the year start happier!
Action for Happiness - February 2023
Be friendly to others and give your relationships a boost.
Action for Happiness: Mindful March 2023
Let’s take the time to pause, breathe and really take in what’s all around us (especially now that spring is awakening. Have you noticed the flowering spring bulbs?)
This month we’re encouraging you to take some time to look within. Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life – like the way we eat, the things we notice our relationships. And also, take a look around: what good do you see? What tiny drops of joy does nature gives us? It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – so we get more out of the day-to-day. It can also help us identify what we’re grateful for, which has been proven to help boost your happiness levels!
Action for Happiness: Active April 2023
This month we're encouraging you to get active, get outdoors and take care of your body. Let's reap the benefits of getting our bodies moving and breathing more deeply as a result of exercising, laughing and even singing. We don't all need to run marathons - there are simple things we can all do take care of our bodies - for example, unplugging from technology, getting outside and - importantly making sure we get enough sleep.
Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being Newsletters
St George's Church of England Academy
We published a termly newsletter to support our Families Mental Health and Well-Being.
Darlington Mental Health Support Team
Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being Drop-In Events
Each term we will be holding a Mental Drop-in Event for Parents and Carers.
Autumn Term - Mental Health Drop In for Parents and Carers
Thursday 10th November 9.30 - 10.30
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce Laura Pickering, who is employed by Darlington Mental Support Team and has been assigned to our school.
The mental health support team supports children and young people in schools in Darlington who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health and emotional wellbeing difficulties such as low mood, social anxiety, separation anxiety, worry, specific fears/phobias, panic and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Laura supports children (year 4 to year 6) in our school and can work with children individually, in small groups or can deliver whole class programmes. If you would like to receive more information about how Laura may be able to help your child, please contact the school and ask to speak to Angela Taylor.
Laura will be holding an informal drop in session where any parent (Years 4 to 6 only) are very welcome to come and discuss your child’s mental health and well-being and hopefully look at ways she can support your family. It would be lovely to see you there!
The drop in session will run for one hour between 9.30 and 10.30 on Thursday 10th November.
Spring Term - Mental Health Drop In for Parents and Carers
Wednesday 1st March, 2023 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Following the success of our informal emotional well-being and mental health drop in session in November, with Laura from the Mental Health Support Team, we have decided to hold this event termly.
This term, the drop in session will take place on Wednesday 1st March between 2 and 4pm. We have listened to feedback from the parents who attended the last session and have decided to introduce an appointment system so that parents can talk openly about any issues their child is facing in a confidential and a safe environment.
Parents with children in Years 4 to 6 are welcome to come and discuss your child’s mental health and well-being and Laura will explore ways that your children can reach a positive outcome.
Please contact the school, either by phone or email, to make an appointment.
We are looking forward to seeing you at this event.
Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being Training and Awareness for Parents and Carers
Please find details below of the free training available to parent/carers in Darlington and County Durham.
These are some of the activities we do in class to get children to focus on their thoughts. They work really well as calming activities too.
Why not try some of these ideas:
Squeeze Muscles – starting at your toes, pick one muscle and squeeze it tight. Count to 5. Release and notice how your body changes. Repeat exercise moving up your body.
Belly Breathing – put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Slowly breathe in from your stomach (expand like a balloon) and slowly breathe out (deflate).
Mediation – Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position. Pick something to focus on, like your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath.
Blowing Bubbles - Notice their shapes, textures and colours.
Colouring – Colour something. Focus on the colours and designs.
Listening to Music – Focus on the whole song, or listen specifically to the voice or an instrument.
Why not try this activities at home with your child or children!
Further Support for Parent and Carers
St George's Emotional Well-Being and Mental Health Library
We are proud to announce the launch of our Emotional Well-Being and Mental Health Library for St George's Families
“Books can play a powerful role in supporting children as they navigate their way through difficult experiences and challenging times. Children can find stories that gently suggest ways for coping with shyness or anxiety, and books that offer valuable messages of hope or understanding during a significant life change or a family illness. Books can also help them understand the experiences and emotions of others, and so develop their empathy and kindness.”
Our Emotional Well-Being and Mental Health Library offers parents, children and families a wealth of books that offer a spectrum of different perspectives and are well worth reading and sharing as a family. Whether you are looking for a book to explore emotions to promote discussions with younger children or a range of books that feature specific mental health we are hoping that we are able to help and support our families at St George’s
Our ever-growing parent and carer library offers, a wealth of books - and is a great place to explore. If you can’t find what you are looking for, why not speak to our Mental Health First Aiders who be able to signpost you to something that is relevant to you and your family!
“As a teacher, parent and Mental Health First Aider at St George’s, I'm reminded on a daily basis of the power of developing a healthy mind. I believe that well-being is the foundation of everything - if our well-being is high, then we can be the best versions of ourselves. Once an adult is able to emotionally attune to their needs, the child will then feel seen and heard. Then they can begin to develop the emotional skills they need to be able to label their feelings and manage them in a healthy way.”
The following are just some of the many book we offer that our families at St George’s can borrow relating to mental health and well-being. Please just call in and speak to Mrs Taylor at the end of the school day you will be only too pleased to help you.
Please click on the link to find out what books we have available.
National Support Networks
Helpful resources to support mental health and wellbeing.
Work in collaboration with children and their families to transform children and families’ mental health.
Every Child Matters – Public Health England
A public health England and NHS site to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others.
Mentally Healthy Schools
Quality-assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing.
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Advice on depression, anxiety, ADHD & self-harm. YoungMinds Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544 (9.30 to 4.00pm, Mon- Fri). We offer free, confidential online and telephone support, including information and advice, to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25.
ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor for free about anything – no problem is too big or too small. Telephone: 0800 1111 Email: http://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Pages/Email.aspx
Kooth is a free online counselling platform for children & young people Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people aged 10-18 year old with trained counsellors as well as articles written by young people, a supportive online community forum and the function to record online journals.
The NSPCC have collated 25 books designed to validate and help children who are worried or anxious interpret how they are feeling.
Supporting Children's Well-Being and Mental Health
Young minds parents’ survival guide - https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-survival-guide/
All About Supporting your Child's Mental Health
Bereavement and Grief
Worry and Anxiety
School Anxiety and Refusal
Challenging Behaviour and Anger
Separation and Divorce
Supporting Adult's Mental Health
If you are struggling with any of the following, please click to find out further advice and support.
"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it is not the end!"
Here are some useful apps to help look after your emotional and mental wellbeing:
SAM (Self help for anxiety management) provides users with a symptom tracker, educational articles, external links, relaxation techniques and Coping skills
Calm - Access music to assist with focus, sleep and relaxation
Check in with how you are feeling and choose one of our missions to help create your very own force field of calm.
For children ages 5 – 10.
Headspace - Everyday Mindfulness and Meditation for stress, anxiety, sleep, focus, fitness and more. Find out what Mindfulness can do for you in just 3 minutes a day.
The Happy Child Parenting app grants access to Psychology, Neuroscience and paediatric
research and tips to help raise a happy, well adjusted child.
The link below is a free resource which has a whole host of support videos/information covering a wide range of topics from anxiety, transition, sleep, mealtimes, starting school, helping your child with reading.
World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2022
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day the 10th October.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Day is set by the World Federation of Mental Health and is 'Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority'.
World Mental Health Day is also a chance to talk about mental health in general, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.
At St. George’s Church of England Academy, we will exploring the story ‘Bottled’ by Tom and Joe Brassington.
“This is a bottle!
You will have seen bottles before.
What are you bottling up?
Maybe now’s the time to explore.”
Bottled is a beginning. It is the start of a wider dialogue and a catalyst for classroom conversation. Within these conversations children can begin to explore their emotions in an honest, safe space. It is designed to facilitate six classroom conversations – naming emotions, describing emotions, bottling emotions, sharing emotions, supporting others and creating emotionally honest spaces. Each key stage will focus on a different conversation this book raises. Early Years will be exploring the names of different emotions and Key Stage 1 will explore describing emotions. Years 3 and 4 will explore bottling and sharing emotions and Years 5 and 6 will exploring the the themes of supporting others and looking at creating emotionally honest spaces.
Children's Mental Health Week 2023 6th - 12th February - Let's Connect
Please see the following for support and ideas of how you can support and join in at home.
Video activities from Place2Be
Puzzle Pieces – aimed at 4-7 year olds, this activity is presented by CBBC’s Art Ninja, Ricky Martin, and will show children how we are all connected. Why not take part as a family?
Connecting Paperchains – developed by Place2Be‘s Art Room team for 7-11 year olds, this activity helps children think about the people, things and activities they feel connected to.
Lily Jo and Mental Health
Lily-Jo is not only a singer but a mental health counsellor and founder of The Lily-Jo Project.
Lily-Jo fully understands that some children today are really struggling with their emotional well-being and mental health, and her mission is to ensure children, teachers, and parents worldwide have access to the most up-to-date information when it comes to mental health. She has developed a website entitled "The Lily-Jo Project." On this site, you will find lots of useful to support your own and your children's mental health through blogs, newsletters, videos, podcasts, leaflets and stories. Lily Jo has recently published a book, Talking To Children About Mental Health, which supports parents and teachers in raising strong, resilient and confident children. We have several copies in school if you would like to borrow one.
Lily-Jo will also be holding a free webinar/workshops during Children's Mental Health Week for parents and teachers.
• When? February 9, 2023
• Time? Lunchtime: 12:00 to 13:00 (BST) and after school: 16:00 to 17:00 (BST)
• Where? Online
The workshop is designed to help you understand the unique mental health challenges facing children, teenagers, and students today.
To sign up, simply sign up on the Lily-Jo website and a free link will be forwarded to you. Please use the link below.