As I write this blog, I am preparing to return to School on a part time basis as part of a phased return following my hip replacement surgery. During my period of convalescence I have enjoyed having the opportunity to read more and keep up to date with the news. During a busy term I can only manage to “skim read” anything apart from essential reading, so having the luxury of time to read the educational press and online blogs has been a joy.
Not surprisingly, the most common theme in the press is Mental Health and how schools are supporting young people. In my blog in October 2017 I wrote about the issues of depression and developing resilience and mental toughness after reading a BBC news article which stated that “over a quarter of 14 year old girls have signs of depression”. Similar statistics continue to dominate the news, and here at Saint Martin’s we continue to be proactive in our pastoral work to support our girls through difficult times.
Last Wednesday, 10th October, was World Mental health Day. This day was established in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). This is an international membership organization founded in 1948 to advance, among all peoples and nations, the prevention of mental and emotional disorders, the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and the promotion of mental health. Each year WFMH provides a different packet of information on a selected topic. People in many countries hold events and use World Mental Health Day to draw attention to the importance of mental health, knowing there is much to be done to increase public education and advocacy.
On World Mental Health Day a group of 10 pupils from Senior School attended the Young People’s Mental Health Conference organised by the Early Help “Engage Team” which is part of Solihull Children’s Services. The theme was “You in Mind”. Following the conference our group of students will become “Mental Health Ambassadors” for Saint Martin’s. Their role will be to raise the profile of mental health around School, to promote the message that “it is OK to not be OK”, and to help organise mental health awareness days and activities. For example, the group will take on the “Beat” charity initiative (“Beat” is the UK’s leading charity supporting those affected by eating disorders and campaigning on their behalf), be involved in planning Sparkle Week, and lead on an assembly promoting mental health awareness.
This initiative complements all the work we already do at Saint Martin’s to ensure that your daughters build up resilience, mental toughness and a healthy work-life balance. These important topics are covered through our PSHCEE programme and the work done by our form tutors and pastoral leads.
Whilst researching this topic I downloaded the following two information sheets to help parents and teachers understand young people’s mental health and tips for talking to young people about mental health. I hope you find them useful.
As we break up for our half term holiday the Sixth Form girls will have arrived in Japan for their cultural tour of this fascinating country – we look forward to hearing about their travels next half term. I hope you all have a restful half term break.