Mental Health & Well Being at Bell Farm
At Bell Farm Primary School, we believe in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive. Our school ethos and values underpin everything that we do.
What is Mental Health?
We all have mental health. Your mental health affects how you feel, think and act. It refers to your emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Your mental health can change on a daily basis, over time, and can be affected by a range of factors. 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 and change over time.
Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. It is thought that this is probably because of changes in the way that we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mental Health Teaching & Support
At Bell Farm, we teach children about what it means to have good mental health and wellbeing throughout our curriculum and daily practice.
Our PSHE curriculum focuses specifically on developing children’s social and emotional skills which can prevent poor mental health from developing and help all children cope effectively with setbacks and remain healthy. It is about helping children to understand and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and build skills that help them to thrive, such as working in a team, persistence, and self-awareness. Our role in school is to ensure that children manage times of change and stress, and 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.
Top tips to support children and young people
Be there to listen
Regularly ask how they’re doing so they get used to talking about their feelings and know there’s always someone to listen if they want it. Find out how to create a space where they will open up.
How to start a conversation with your child
Support them through difficulties
Pay attention to their emotions and behaviour and try to help them work through difficulties. It’s not always easy when faced with challenging behaviour but try to help them understand what they’re feeling and why.
Help with difficult behaviour and emotions
Stay involved in their life
Show interest in their life and the things important to them. It not only helps them value who they are but also makes it easier for you to spot problems and support them.
Encourage their interests
Being active or creative, learning new things and being a part of a team help connect us with others and are important ways we can all help our mental health. Support and encourage them to explore their interests, whatever they are.
Take what they say seriously
Listening to and valuing what they say, without judging their feelings, in turn makes them feel valued. Consider how to help them process and work through their emotions in a more constructive way.
The Anna Freud Centre support guide
Build positive routines
We know it still may not be easy, but try to reintroduce structure around regular routines, healthy eating and exercise. A good night’s sleep is also really important – try to get them back into routines that fit with school or college.
Sleep tips for children
If your child is struggling and needs some help, you may be feeling really worried as a parent – and like you’re not sure where to start. Remember that you and your child are not alone. Please talk to your child’s teacher or a member of our inclusion team, who will be able assist you access necessary support.