Mental Health Lead: Susie Betley
Mental Health Deputy: Steph Strachan
Mental Health Governor: Rev. Kirsty Wainwright
Welcome to our mental health page. I am Susie Betley, the school’s mental health lead and Mental Health First Aider.
We all have mental health in the same way that we all have physical health. Throughout our lives our physical and mental health may fluctuate. Sometimes we feel fit and healthy, and at other times we may feel unwell, tired, stressed, or anxious. Just as small changes like regular exercise and a healthy diet can have a positive impact on our physical health, so small changes can also positively impact our mental health.
There has been a significant rise in anxiety and depression in children aged 5-16 since the pandemic. Schools are working hard to support children with emotional regulation, reconnecting with healthy friendships and learning, and processing their experiences.
At Layston we aim to teach both children and adults how to make healthy choices to promote better mental health and to support the access of mental health professionals when people are struggling.
To be mentally healthy, we need:
- the ability and desire to learn (not just in school but throughout life);
- the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions (being able to explain what you feel and think)
- the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others (having a support network of friends and/or family around us)
- the ability to cope with change and uncertainty (this is often referred to as ‘resilience’ which is our ability to bounce back after difficulties).
At Layston we teach well-being and positive mental health through:
- a whole school approach to nurture and therapeutic responses to behaviour (through Hertfordshire Steps and our nurture training).
- consistently applying the school ethos and mission statement as well as policies.
- supporting children develop and maintain healthy relationships with themselves, peers, and adults through our PSHRE curriculum (see PSHRE policy)
- promoting the key learning behaviours of resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness, and reciprocity through our growth mindset (see Parental Engagement section of website)
- providing consistency, safety, warmth, and humour within school
- openly talking about mental as well as physical health and investing in staff training
- Promoting the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’
5 Ways to Wellbeing:
• CONNECT – talk to, listen to and spend time with people you love and who make you feel loved, listen to music, spend time with pets or in the garden…
• GIVE – giving time to others, raising money for charity, helping people…
• TAKE NOTICE – remember the little things that give you pleasure, connect with nature, practise mindfulness, cook, read, sing, draw, laugh…
• KEEP LEARNING – try something new, learn a new skill or hobby, have fun…
• BE ACTIVE – exercise, do something active that you enjoy, eat well, stay hydrated, sleep well, rest.
Sometimes, we may experience poor mental health to the point where these small changes may not be enough, and we need professional help. I am not a mental health professional, but I am trained in Mental Health First Aid, and can support in a crisis and help you access mental health professionals.
If you or your child are struggling you should contact your GP, as well as feeling able to approach school for support. Please phone the office 01763 271235 to make an appointment to speak to me or approach me at the end of the school day to arrange a time to meet.
For your child:
- Child Line 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk
- Apps such as SAMAPP, What’s Up? Breath2Relax for anxiety
- Apps such as Headspace or Calm
- The Wellbeing Service offers self-referral for emotional wellbeing support in relation to low mood and anxiety, including one-to-one and on-line support. This service is free and confidential. www.nhs.uk/mental-health
- Just Talk Parent Top Tips for getting your child talking www.justtalkherts.org
- Healthy Young Minds in Herts website www.healthyyoungmindsinherts.org.uk
- Mind in Mid Herts – courses on life skills such as coping with anxiety, stress, low self- esteem and depression for 16+ year olds. www.mindinmidherts.org.uk
- Samaritans – confidential support in a crisis 24/7, calls cannot be traced and won’t appear on your bill. CALL FREE 116 123.