At Stanford Junior & Infant School we work hard to ensure that everyone is safe and happy. This includes trying to ensure that the mental health and wellbeing of everyone in the school community is adequately supported. The following guidelines help us to do that.
What is positive mental health?
Good mental health is of fundamental importance to learning. When young people are happy, they can be attentive and receptive to new ideas and concepts.
Mental health is how we feel, how we think and how we behave. Mental Health promotion for children and young people is everybody’s business.
It is about:
- being able to form and maintain relationships with others
- being adaptable to change and other people’s expectations
- being able to have fun
- being open to learning
- being able to develop a sense of right and wrong
- being able to develop the resilience to manage ordinary setbacks.
We recognise that all children and young people need the foundation of positive mental health to benefit fully from all of the opportunities available to them.
All children and young people need to:
- be able to connect with others by participating in groups and teams
- know they are capable and able to achieve
- know they count in their world and can contribute to their community
- know they have courage and can manage risks appropriately.
Why do we promote positive mental health?
Everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable. At times, anyone may need additional support to maintain or develop good mental health. We should be aware that –
- 1 in 10 children and young people aged 1 – 15 years have a clinically recognisable mental disorder in any one year.
- 1 in 4 adults will experience mental health difficulties; at least half of these difficulties can be traced back to childhood.
The mental health of children and young people, adults in school, parents and carers and the wider whole school community will impact on all areas of development, learning, achievement and experiences. All children and young people have the right to be educated in an environment that supports and promotes positive mental health for everybody. All adults have the right to work in an environment that supports and promotes positive mental health for everybody.
Stanford Junior & Infant School recognises these needs and rights. We are committed to raising awareness, increasing understanding and ensuring that we can and do make a difference by providing a place where all children and young people feel safe, secure and able to achieve and experience success and well-being.
At Stanford Junior & Infant School we offer a learning environment that promotes and enhances positive mental health. A consistent approach means that our school environment and school ethos all promote the mental health of the whole school community.
What does a healthy environment look like?
Healthy relationships underpin positive mental health and have a significant impact.
A mentally healthy environment has:
- a clear and agreed ethos and culture that accords value and respect to all
- a commitment to being responsive to children and young people’s needs
- clear guidelines for internal and external referrals
- strong links with external agencies to provide access to support and information
A mentally healthy environment is a place where children and young people:
- have opportunities to participate in activities that encourage belonging
- have opportunities to participate in decision-making
- have opportunities to celebrate academic and non-academic achievements
- have their unique talents and abilities identified and developed
- have opportunities to develop a sense of worth through taking responsibility for themselves and others
- have opportunities to reflect
- have access to appropriate support that meets their needs
- have a right to be in an environment that is safe, clean, attractive and well cared for
- are surrounded by adults who model positive and appropriate behaviours, interactions and ways of relating at all times.
A mentally healthy environment is a place where staff:
- have their individual needs recognised and responded to in a holistic way
- have a range of strategies that support their mental health, e.g. a named person to speak to, signposting
- have recognition of their work-life balance
- have the mental health and well-being of the whole staff reviewed regularly
- feel valued and have opportunities to contribute to decision-making processes
- celebrate and recognise success
- are able to carry out roles and responsibilities effectively
- are provided with opportunities for CPD both personally and professionally
- have their unique talents and skills recognised and opportunities are provided for development
- have time to reflect
- can access proactive strategies and systems to support them at times of emotional needs in both the short term and the long term.
A mentally healthy environment is a place where parents/carers:
- are recognised for their significant contribution to children and young people’s mental health
- are welcomed, included and work in partnership with schools and agencies
- are provided with opportunities where they can ask for help when needed
- are signposted to appropriate agencies for support
- are clear about their roles and expectations of their responsibilities in working in partnership with schools
- opinions are sought and valued and responded to
- strengths and difficulties are recognised, acknowledged and challenged appropriately.
A mentally healthy environment is a place where the whole school community:
- is involved in promoting positive mental health
- is valued for the role it plays in promoting positive mental health
- contributes towards the ethos of the school.
A healthy learning environment provides opportunities that promote positive mental health, through the standard curriculum and extended provision, e.g. SMSC, pastoral support, play therapy, coaching sessions, differentiated learning activities, individual timetables, challenging stereotypes, etc.
The implementation of these guidelines for promoting positive mental health in school:
- will give a cohesive and co-ordinated approach to mental health
- should underpin all policies and practices currently used in school
- will raise awareness as to how the whole school community can look after their own mental health and that of others
- will help to de-stigmatise mental health
- will support people and provide opportunities that enable everyone to reach their potential
- will strengthen relationships and provide opportunities for different ways of working
- will provide foundations for life-long learning
- will promote and strengthen resilience throughout the whole school community and empower everyone to face life’s challenges.
How can we measure impact?
This guidance offers opportunities to measure the impact in a variety of ways, e.g. school’s ethos, staff well-being, feedback from the whole school community, number of external referrals, improved relationships.
The promotion of positive mental health for children and young people is everybody’s business.