World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2016

World Mental Health Day is today and provides an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. The theme for this year is Psychological First Aid and the support people can provide to those in need.

Director of Mental Health & Creative Media Teacher, Clare Erasmus provides some inspiring and interesting information in her recent blog post. 

She highlights the importance of talking about mental health and recognising students in need of support, describes the potential warning signs to look out for as well as the available resources for teachers to pass on to students.

Clare states: ‘The consequences of ignoring a young person’s Mental illness are damaging and can result in them dropping out of education, developing eating disorders, withdrawing from society, hurting themselves and in extreme cases suicide.

Thanks to powerful campaigns to end mental health discrimination: it is now Time to talk a day that brings the nation together to get talking and break the silence around mental health problems. It is important to know that many mental health problems, if detected early enough, are very treatable.

Talking about our mental health is now considered as important as talking about our physical health or nutritional health. Talking about Mental Health raises awareness. Talking about Mental Health can save lives.

The reality is as we go through Life’s challenges sometimes our mental health is in need of more support than at other times.

It is important to know the difference between typical adolescence and warning signs of mental health problems. This diagram from Mental Health First Aid explains the potential warning signs to look out for:

For some of our adolescents, stressful events at home or at school can cause increased anxiety and feelings of worthlessness leading to social withdrawal and a low mood. It could be external factors; it could be hereditary where there is a family history of mental health problems.’

So what can we do about it?

Clare’s school offers a Wellbeing Barometer shown below to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling. 

This not only encourages children to talk but provides a safe environment for them to do so. 

‘Together with an adult wellbeing mentor all ambassadors have been trained by RELATE and offer a listening service focussing on empathy rather than giving advice although they are in a position to signpost further support in the school or online.’

It’s important to know children can self-refer themselves or they can be referred by a member of staff. This service aims to:

1. Make it normal to talk about mental health.

2. Ensure students are better able to manage their own emotions and problems.

3. Decrease isolation for those students who are facing early signs of mental health challenges.

Is this something you can implement in your class to support your student's wellbeing? 

For more information, visit Clare’s full blog article here. Read more about how Clare’s media students designed a mental health and wellbeing app that provides a constant digital service for families. It offers key facts and support and directs them to places they can visit in the school and the community for additional help. 

What a great way to promote wellbeing in school. Let us know what you provide to your students by commenting in the box below. 

Remember, yours and your student's wellbeing MATTERS. 

For additional information, read our blog post, 'Mental Health First Aid.. What's it all about?'


Don't miss our #TeacherWellbeingPledge competition where you could win a Fitbit

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