Today marks the first day of Children’s Mental Health Week, and Southwold Primary School is taking the opportunity to educate pupils on mental health. Along with providing excellent support, we believe that teaching children about the effects of mental health problems is a great way to remove the stigma and create a caring and encouraging environment.
The first ever Children’s Mental Health Week took place in 2015. It was created and launched by Place2Be, the UK’s largest children’s mental health charity, to “support children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing”.
During the fifth Children’s Mental Health Week, we will be holding a whole-school assembly to raise awareness of just how important children’s mental health is. Then, each class will complete an activity that raises the profile and significance of feeling mentally healthy, the impact it has on each individual, and how it needs to be addressed to enable pupils to perform at their best, both in and out of school.
The need for focus on children’s mental health is backed up by some alarming statistics. 75% of mental illnesses start during childhood, and 50% of mental health problems in adult life (excluding dementia) take root before the age of 15. What’s more, at least 50% of young people believe that anyone their age diagnosed with a mental illness would be embarrassed, which often leads to them suffering in silence and not receiving the support they need.
At Southwold Primary School, we have provisions in place to support pupils experiencing mental health problems and always encourage them to seek help when they need it.
Gemma Penny, our special educational needs coordinator (SENCO), said: “As a school, Southwold has focused on children's mental health and wellbeing significantly over the last couple of academic years. We recognise the need for children to feel mentally and emotionally healthy in order for them to be able to perform at their best.”
“Class calm boxes, our jigsaw curriculum, worry monsters, and access to our learning mentor, Sky, are just a few examples of the highly successful initiatives we have in school to support our pupils.”