At Woodlands, we believe passionately in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to enable our school to be a community where everyone feels able to thrive.
We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health and we need to take care of it.
Being mentally healthy means that we feel good about ourselves, make and keep positive relationships with others and can feel and manage the full range of emotions. These can range from happiness, excitement and curiosity through to less comfortable feelings such as anger, fear or sadness.
Good mental health allows us to cope with life’s ups and downs, to feel in control of our lives and to ask for help from others when we need support.
Like physical health, mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy and flourishing to struggling and unwell. It can fluctuate daily and change over time in response to different stresses and experiences.
Most children sit at the positive end of the spectrum, most of the time. However, we know that everyone experiences challenges and at times, children will demonstrate changes in their relationships, behaviour and learning that suggest they are struggling.
Staff at Woodlands are trained to spot these changes and follow our Mental Health referral pathway to ensure that children can access the support they need.
How we support your child’s mental health and wellbeing
At Woodlands we offer a tiered approach to our positive mental health provision, depending on the level of need.
Universal Support– Whole school response to supporting ALL children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Our warm, welcoming and nurturing ethos which is underpinned by our strong School Values and vision, a sense of trust, mutually respectful relationships, and a culture of acceptance, inclusion and equality all create a “tapestry of support” around the children in our care.
Targeted support– Specific support for those children who may have short term needs or may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as bereavement and/or parental separation. This support is provided within school and delivered by our pastoral team.
Our school interventions include:
Thrive – Delivered by our Thrive practitioner and ELSA Mrs Payne
Thrive sessions are 1:1 or small group play and arts based activities designed to help the child feel better about themselves; become more resilient and resourceful, form trusting and rewarding relationships, be compassionate and empathetic, and/or be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks. (Please see our Thrive Approach section).
ELSA – (Emotional Literacy Support assistant)
ELSA sessions are weekly 1:1 or small group sessions developed to offer the child support around the following areas: self-esteem, team building, friendships, social skills, anger management or understanding emotions.
Specialist Support – Specialist level of individual support for those children who are still struggling despite Universal/Targeted support and are in need of help from trained professionals e.g. CAMHS, Family Counselling Trust, Winston’s Wish etc.
If you are worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing
Mental health doesn’t mean being happy all the time and neither does it mean avoiding stresses altogether. One of the most important ways to help your child is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously.
In many instances, children’s negative feelings and worries usually pass with the support of their parents/carers and families. However, it is helpful for the school to know what they are going through at these times, so that staff can be aware of the need and support this.
If you are ever worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing then please do come and talk to us and/or send an e-mail to your child’s class teacher.
Sometimes children will need additional support for a short period – this may be in the form of a daily check-in with a trusted adult, time to talk through what they are feeling and support in developing ways of moving forwards with this. We can also offer you advice and signposting for specific services and support.
If your child is distressed for a longer period of time, if their feelings are stopping them from doing things they enjoy, if their distress is disrupting family life or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways you would not expect at their age, and you have not spoken to us already, then please speak to us as soon as you can or contact your GP as your child may be in need of some more specialist support.
Looking after yourself
If things are getting you down, it’s important to recognise this. Talk to someone you trust and see what they think. It is easy to go on struggling with very difficult situations because you feel that you should be able to cope and don’t deserve any help, but the truth is that, at times, we all need a little help and support.
So please come and talk to us, and we will do our best to help. We are here to support you.
Asking for some support from your doctor or a referral to a counselling service is a sign of strength. We can’t help our children if we are not being supported ourselves.
Please click on the following images to be taken to useful websites to support your own, your child’s and your family’s mental health:
On Your Mind Wiltshire – https://www.onyourmind.org.uk
Winston’s Wish – www.winstonswish.org/
(Credit to Mrs Drennan, Mental Health Lead at Downton, for parts of this section.)