"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 Organisation)
Here at Sherford Vale School we aim to promote positive mental health for every member of our staff and all of our children. We pursue this aim using workplace practices which involve a universal and whole school approach. This includes using a non-punitive approach to Behaviour Recovery and specialised targeted approaches which are aimed at vulnerable pupils. In addition to promoting positive mental health, we aim to recognise and respond to mental health difficulties through personalised support, ELSA sessions, our Book of Hopes, group work and supportive activities.
Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help children to enjoy life more and understand themselves better. Steps towards living in a more mindful way include:
When children take these steps it can positively change the way that they see themselves and their lives by untangling the many unhelpful interwoven streams of thoughts and feelings that are being experienced; identifying patterns so that they can notice and train their thoughts so that ‘mental events’ do not take over and control them, and they can learn how to deal with mental thoughts productively rather than brooding and not moving forwards. Self- awareness of this kind can help children to notice signs of anxiety and stress and deal with it or seek help at an early stage.
This is an innovative approach which teaches children how to use otherwise negative unpleasant emotions and turn them into positive thoughts and actions to overcome disappointments, setbacks and hurts. It helps children to move on when they are otherwise ‘emotionally stuck.’ This approach has been proven to have significant mental health benefits and teaches all children (and adults) a valuable toolkit for overcoming adversity throughout life. Staff at Sherford Vale have been trained in how to use this approach. Two members of staff have been trained as Emotional Logic Support Assistants.
Further to our work supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students during the exam season, Dragonfly have published a free booklet about how to deal with anxiety, which can be given to students and/or parents. Please find a copy attached; there is also a link to the free download from their website, should you prefer to share this via a link: www.dragonflyimpact.co.uk/anxiety-booklet-pdf
We encourage the children of Sherford Vale School to have a Growth Mindset rather than a Fixed Mindset. Children with Growth Mindset understand that intelligence develops whereas those with a Fixed Mindset think that mistakes have to be avoided and success is immediate. Persistence, practice and effort are essential in developing the connections in the brain. It is important that children are encouraged to take a risk, fail and learn from their mistakes. This also helps children to become resilient and persevere when things get difficult. Mistakes are part of learning. Part of a child’s education is to learn how to self -talk into positive thinking. The chart below gives some examples of phrases that can be used:
Local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
The role of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is to promote the mental health and psychological well-being of children and young people. Almost half of all mental health problems occur before age 14, so making sure the right services – tailored to the needs of younger people and children – are in place to support them is really important.
Livewell Southwest’s CAMHS has multidisciplinary teams that offer a high quality service to all children and young people between the ages of 5 – 18 who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health. This includes mental health nurses, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists whose priority is to work quickly to provide an effective assessment, treatment plan and therapeutic support for individuals, and their families.
We have dedicated CAMHS teams for different treatment pathways, including, a tier 4 tertiary unit that supports 12 to 18 year olds with serious mental ill-health from across Devon and Cornwall.
Useful Websites regarding Social, Emotional and Mental Health
NSPCC - Keeping Children Safe