Wellbeing at Stoke Canon Primary School
Click here for the EVERY MIND MATTERS VIDEO
The mental and emotional wellbeing of everyone at Stoke Canon Primary School, is important; life challenges can leave us vulnerable, and in need of additional support.
We have put together this resource for parents and children, with information to help support your child and look after your own wellbeing needs: positive mental health is something that we can all contribute to, and often it only needs a few small interventions to change the way we cope with a difficult situation.
On this Wellbeing page you will find:
- Information for parents for support with their own emotional wellbeing
- Information and resources for parents to support their children’s emotional wellbeing
We have a separate page for activities and information for children to support their own learning around emotional wellbeing.
At Stoke Canon Primary School we aim to:
- help children to understand and express their feelings better
- help children to build relationships
- help children to believe in their own self worth
- help children to understand that failure is a part of growth and learning
- help children to build resilience through experience
- help families to support their children through adverse events or challenges
- help parents to help their children to develop good coping strategies
Good mental health can be described as ‘a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’ World Health Organisation
Mental health problems commonly arise due to life stressors and can be alleviated with a range of short term interventions or support. Mental health problems can interfere with your cognitive (thought processes), emotional or social abilities, and impair your ability to engage fully with some areas of life eg relationships, day to day activities, work or leisure. This is different to a mental illness which is diagnosed by a GP or mental health professional.
We provide a range of support:
Emotional health learning through activities and experiences, an inclusive ethos based in Christian values, and using the curriculum to promote self esteem and resilience.
For children with specific needs that can be supported through targeted interventions eg one to one or group sessions.
For children and families who are experiencing short term challenges such as a bereavement, we provide support to help them through the situation they are coping with.
We have several members of staff trained in Mental Health First Aid, as well as experts in counselling and emotional support, who come into school on a regular basis.
NAMES AND PHOTOS to follow
Information to support your own emotional wellbeing
If you feel overwhelmed by life and its demands, you may be at risk of becoming stressed, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Further down this page are some things you can do in order to minimise the effects of stress, and keep yourself mentally healthy.
Symptoms of Stress
Emotional - irritable, feeling low and tearful, resentful of demands, anxiety and depression
Physical - muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, minor illnesses, indigestion
Cognitive (thinking) - unable to concentrate, forgetful, distracted, inflexible, a sense of injustice and hopelessness
Behavioural - Self neglect, over committed and a misplaced sense of urgency
These are just some of the signs that you might be suffering from stress. For a more detailed list and information visit:
Every Mind Matters offer some tools to help with stress:
You may also be struggling with depression or anxiety:
Before you get to this point you can improve your stress levels with a few simple ideas and activities.
Using deep breathing techniques is surprisingly effective in helping us to lower our stress response. See this 2 minute video from Every Mind Matters: mindful breathing exercises
Notice your body too – is it tense? Drop your shoulders, relax your arms and hands, and start to breathe deeply; in to a count of 6 and slowly out to a count of 7. If you prefer you can use the square breathing technique illustrated here.
‘Grounding’ yourself can also help. This is a way of focussing your mind not on the thoughts that are stressful, but on the present moment. To do this step away from the place of stress to somewhere quieter, and use the 54321 technique:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
You can combine this with some deep breathing too.
It seems obvious that we need to take care of ourselves, to rest and relax, but too often busy parents find themselves on a hamster wheel of tasks and work, and then it can feel like taking time out to relax means that the to do list will just get longer!
Self-care doesn’t have to be a day at the spa – something as simple as having a proper tea break for 10 minutes is giving your mind a few moments break.
Bigger self-care things may include; exercise, seeing friends, having a film night at home, or joining a class for whatever interests you: Yoga, reading clubs, walking groups, sport, hobbies and crafts. Humans are social creatures and our mental health suffers when we don’t have the right amount of quality connection with others. This will vary according to your preferences, but even introverts need to connect with others sometimes!
Find more self care resources on the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
Good sleep is essential to good mental and physical health. Watch this TED Talk if you want to know more on the importance of sleep.
More information on sleep can be found on the NHS website and on the Headspace web pages.
Need more support?
If you find that you are struggling with your mental health there are plenty of online resources, some of which are listed below. Do see your GP if you think you may need more support eg for depression or anxiety. Talkworks is the NHS counselling service. You may prefer to see a private counsellor and there are some low cost services based in Exeter and Exmouth: Margaret Jackson Centre, Iron Mill Counselling Services and Quiet Minds (Exmouth).
Don’t suffer in silence – talk to someone.
Mind - https://www.mind.org.uk/
Every Mind Matters - https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/
Samaritans - https://www.samaritans.org Phone free - 24 hours 116123
Mental Health Foundation - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Information and resources for parents to support their children’s emotional wellbeing
Children can struggle with life in many ways from friendship issues, low self esteem, to coping with what the adult world throws at them like divorce or bereavement. One of the first things you can do to help your children, is to make sure that you are looking after yourself.
Here are some useful resources to help you help your child
From the NHS:
Top Tips for 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.
click - 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.
Click - Help with difficult behaviour and emotions
Stay involved in their life
Show interest in their life and the things that are important to them. It not only helps them value who they are but also makes it easier for you to spot problem and support them.
Encourage their interests
Being active or creative, learning new things and being part of a team, helps connect us with others and are important ways we can all help with 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.
Click - The Anna Freud Centre Support Guide
Build positive routines
We know it still may not be easy, by 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.
Click - Sleep tips for children
The Charlie Waller Trust have a great resource for managing wellbeing - it's in the form of a workbook that can be downloaded here. The workbook offers examples of tools your child can use to stay well, a daily plan, managing triggers and more.
Understanding what a child needs when their behaviour becomes more challenging helps us to respond to them better. Barnardos have put together a really helpful guide to understanding children’s behaviour:
Young Minds also offer guidance on children’s behaviour:
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has a range of help and resources including their excellent Child in Mind Podcasts
If you have concerns about your child’s mental health and would like to talk to the school, please contact your child’s class teacher, who can refer you for more support if necessary. There are lots of great resources around the school including information on how to access a range of help and support in the local area.