Mental Health at Edenhurst
I have always taken a huge interest in other people. Perhaps I’m simply very nosy but I genuinely believe that understanding others enables me to better interact, and where necessary, support them. As such, I started my career by reading Education and Psychology at the University of Wales, Cardiff. With the idea of becoming an Educational Psychologist, I then trained as a teacher at Cambridge University. At the time, Educational Psychologists had to have at least two years teaching experience. However, fast forward two years and then another nineteen years, and I am still teaching and that is because this is what I love doing.
I’ll be honest, when I first started teaching over 20 years ago, there was very little understanding of Mental Health or psychology within the teaching profession despite the beginning of my career coinciding with the first ‘Mental Health Action Week’ (now called Mental Health Awareness Week). There were pupils who did not get the necessary mental health support they required but those within the teaching profession generally tried their best.
More recently, Mental Health has become a public agenda and schools are more proactively raising the awareness of Mental Health and the support provided. During my time at Edenhurst, (I started here in January 2017), Mental Health has always been a priority and this academic year, we have included a strategic approach to Mental Health in our School Development Plan. This is not because we are concerned that there is an urgent need for support but that we would rather be preventative and particularly during such challenging times.
Edenhurst is prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of all members of the school community by working together in a success-minded way. Have you ever received one negative comment that has created a barrier for you? I certainly have and to this day, there are things that I think that I am not good at because of someone else’s careless comment. Of course, there are things that we find naturally more challenging but at Edenhurst, we want everyone to have a positive mindset and the tools that enable us to meet challenges in a positive light. A positive approach will inevitably support healthy mental health and wellbeing.
It is not by chance that the children have a minimum of 3 hours of Swimming / PE or Games lessons per week. Where many schools have decreased the time spent in physical exercise, we have maintained and increased this time. Mrs Heyhoe has also introduced the ‘Daily Mile’ which means that all children are actively travelling around the school for 15 minutes per day. By looking after our children’s physical wellbeing, we are also contributing to healthy mental health.
Of course, we do understand that despite the measures put in place to create a community with positive mental health, there will be those amongst us who have ill mental health. Consequently, our staff have some mental health training and two of us are qualified Mental Health First Aiders. By the end of this term, we will have six Mental Health First Aiders, and this is because the training received is invaluable. The training teaches people how to notice the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.
I have no intention of listing the many other things that we do to support Mental Health at Edenhurst but if you have any ideas that you would like to share with me, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Head (EYFS, Pre-Prep & Pastoral)Categories: School Blogs