Mental Health & Wellbeing
At St Mary Cray Primary Academy, we are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive. Positive mental wellbeing is essential if children and young people are to flourish and lead fulfilling lives.
At our school, we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
Over 50% of mental illnesses start before the age of 14 and 1 in 10 children and young people has a mental health disorder (Public Mental Health, 2014). Recent survey results found that 12.5% (one in eight) of 5 to 19 year olds, surveyed in England in 2017, had a mental disorder (NHS, 2017).
“Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community,” (World Health Organization, 2014).
Two key elements to support good mental health are:
- Feeling Good – experiencing positive emotions like happiness, contentment and enjoyment. Including feelings like curiosity, engagement and safety.
- Functioning Well – how a person is able to function in the world, this includes positive relationships and social connections, as well as feeling in control of your life and having a sense of purpose.
Our role in school is to ensure that children are able to manage times of change and stress, and that they are supported to reach their potential or access help when they need it. Children are taught when to seek help, what help is available, and the likely outcome of seeking support so that they have the confidence and knowledge for themselves or others. We also have a role to ensure that children learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health and how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. As part of our targeted provision, we have and continue to access, outside help and support for pupils when required.
At St Mary Cray Primary Academy, we believe that teaching about mental health and emotional wellbeing as part of a comprehensive PSHE and Mindup education curriculum is vital. PSHE and Mindup is central to the curriculum across the whole school and assists pupils to cope with the changes at puberty, introduces them to a wider world, manage transitions and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities. The concepts covered in PSHE include keeping safe and managing risk, identity, equality, managing feelings and emotions, relationships, change, resilience and being healthy, which includes physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. We aim to promote pupils’ wellbeing through an understanding of their own and others’ emotions and the development of healthy coping strategies.
Good mental health and wellbeing is just as important as good physical health. Like physical health, mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy to unwell; it can fluctuate on a daily basis and change over time. Children at Bell Lane have two lessons of PE each week. A wide range of sport-related after school clubs are run by teachers and external coaches, whilst many of our pupils take part in inter-school sporting competitions which include an extensive range of sports and activities. Our proficient young leaders are excellent at organising activities and games during play times to encourage higher levels of physical activity and promote inclusion.
We include World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in the school calendar and plan activities for the whole school.