Wellbeing and Mental Health
Feeling Good Week - June 2021
WC 14th June is ‘Almond Hill’s Feeling Good Week’, which is a Hertfordshire-wide event that encourages schools and the wider community to promote children and young people’s emotional wellbeing by raising awareness of mental health and showing where support can be accessed within the community.
Our aim for ‘Feeling Good Week’ is to create a permanent, artistic feature in our school that will support the children’s emotional wellbeing. This idea has mainly been inspired by an activity that occurred during the COVID-19 lockdown at our school. As I’m sure you are aware, the rainbow became very symbolic during this time and some of the children decided to create a rainbow wall with chalk in our playground. This spontaneous event became a real talking point amongst staff, children and the community. Our vision is to recreate this wall with each brick painted a different colour and positive words written to inspire those that look at it. Children in year 3 and 4 will help to paint the rainbow-coloured bricks, whilst children in year 5 and 6 will paint the inspirational words. We can’t wait to share the finished project with you.
NED'S Mission Missions Mindset - Lower School
Children in year 5 and 6 have been taking part in resilience lessons over the last few weeks. We have been struggling to find something suitable for the lower school children but I am pleased to tell you that we have booked an assembly with NED’s Mission Mindset on Friday 2nd July.
The 45-minute assembly introduces a cartoon boy named NED who is on a very important mission: to find his mindset. Led by clues and memorable characters, he overcomes Mt. Everest’s toughest obstacles, uncovers inner-treasures on a Caribbean island, and grows his brain while repairing a sputtering spaceship. Throughout the performance, children will discover how to activate their growth mindset to overcome social, emotional and academic challenges. The assembly is free of charge but they do have a ‘pay it forward’ mantra and to support this we will be selling yo yos on their behalf for 5 days after the event. The money raised from this will help them to deliver their assembly to another school for free! They will be available to purchase on School Gateway.
Developing Resilience Skills - Upper School
Many families have reported to us that they and their children have been struggling due to the impact of Covid-19. I am really pleased to inform you that all children in year 5 and 6 have the opportunity to take part in resilience sessions on a Wednesday after school – starting on the 5th May for 8 weeks (not including 9th June). Not only will these lessons help with managing any current issues but developing resilience is a lifelong skill that we believe is vital for all children and adults. Our teachers are really committed to helping the children develop their resilience skills and have undertaken specific training to aid them in their delivery on the extra lessons.
There are 6 lessons that will be taught to the children which talk them through these main 4 skills:
The lessons aim to teach the following competencies:
What will the Lessons Involve?
Resilience and harnessing positive emotions
Children discuss not jumping to conclusions over emotions because we express them in different ways. It is always better to ask rather than assume.
Connecting the brain, emotions and thoughts
The class discuss and work through some questions about how the brain works and its 3 parts.
Introducing the 'gremlin beliefs'
Children will learn about what we call unhelpful beliefs (gremlin beliefs).
Optimism & evidence
Children begin to come up with questions that question gremlin beliefs to check the accuracy of their thinking.
Children recap last lesson reinforcing that we can control how we feel and behave by questioning gremlin beliefs to gain evidence. Children take part in a gratitude circle.
Children will gain an understanding that when we are uncertain about something or somebody, we can assume the worst is going to happen and the 'catastrophising gremlin belief' takes control. Controlling these anxious thoughts before they take over is a crucial skill.
Children discuss how they can use their resilience skills to be flexible and not get stuck into fixed, inaccurate thinking. Children create a resilience mind map. Mapping out and including all the things that they are going to do and techniques that will work for them.
Circle of Friends
What is Circle of Friends?
Circle of Friends is an 8-week approach to enhancing the inclusion, in a mainstream setting, of any child or young person who is experiencing difficulties in school because of disability, personal crisis or because of their challenging behaviour towards others. The ‘circle of friends’ approach works by mobilising the young person’s peers to provide support and engage in problem solving with the person in difficulty.
It is aimed at inclusive, positive behaviours and redirects negative behaviours.
Adults play a key part in the approach, especially at the start of the programme, but then most of the work is carried out by "the friends". Early on in the intervention, the key adult meets with the student and their chosen group for around 20 minutes per week to help them with their problem solving together as a team. The measure of success is when the ‘Circle of Friends’ eventually manages itself and becomes an integral part of the student’s support with very little future adult intervention, if any at all.
The Circle of Friends has three main tasks:
Who is Involved?
The focus child: a chosen child who is experiencing difficulties in school, expresses challenging behaviour and struggles to maintain relationships with peers.
The volunteer group: a group of 6-8 voluntary pupils
• 1-2 popular/prominent members of the class
• 1-2 that also struggle
• 1-2 friends or close acquaintances of the focus child.
• Mixed gender
The teacher: this is the same teacher each week.
For the Focus Child
• Raises their awareness
• Develops language and social skills
• Develops problem-solving skills
For the Volunteer Group
• Develops their understanding of the focus child’s behaviours and feelings
• Awareness of powers for change
What will Happen in the Meetings?
In the first meeting the ground rules are set and the behaviour expectations are agreed. The children will then play a game together to break the ice and get to know each other. They will decide on a name for their group and agree when and where the next meeting will take place. After each session, children will have the opportunity to reflect on the positive outcomes of the meeting. During the weeks that follow children will play games to improve their rapport and build trust within the group.
The parents/guardians of the focus child are involved in the process and will be kept informed of their child's progress.
Referrals to the School Nursing team can be made online through the website https://www.hct.nhs.uk/our-services/school-nursing/
The duty school nurse number is 0300 1237 572.
Reminder: visits to the opticians and dental checks are free on the NHS for children under 16.
Top Tips - Supporting Mental Wellbeing Through Nature
If you’re child or young person in a mental health crisis
The NHS and our local hospitals are really busy at the moment, so if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, the quickest way to get help at any time of the day or night is to call our freephone number: 0800 6444 101, or call NHS 111 and select option 2 for mental health services.
In the case of serious illness or injury, dial 999 for emergency services
If you are already using these services
If you are already receiving support from the service and need help please contact:
Your care co-ordinator on the number provided to you or if you need help in the evening, weekend or bank holiday call 0800 6444 101.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for non-urgent enquiries
Live webchat service
If you'd prefer to speak online, click on the SPA red button here. This service is available Monday-Friday, 7am-7pm.
Samaritans Tel: 116 123, 24 hours a day, every day
Most referrals to our services are made by GPs
If you are experiencing mental health problems and need help please speak to your GP (family doctor). They will discuss the issues you are facing and refer you to our services, if appropriate. To register with a GP in your area go to www.nhs.uk
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing during Coronavirus
It is important more now than ever that we look after our mental health and wellbeing. We aim to provide advice and resources to support you and your family during the pandemic and beyond. Please use the information below and contact the school if you feel you need further support.
This is a useful resource from the ADHD Foundation. It is for parents or anyone working with children/young people with ADHD. This PDF will give advice and tips on how you can build your resilience during difficult times.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing during Coronavirus
Grief and Bereavement
This 'Grief Support' booklet is a FREE practical guide to supporting yourself and the children in your care who are experiencing feelings of loss and grief.
When someone dies we can be totally unprepared. Even if the death is expected it can be difficult to know how to best help the children and young people we care for.
Stand-by-me offers information, advice and support to help children, young people and their families living in North Hertfordshire & Stevenage understand and manage their grief.
Click here for an A-Z of mental health.
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital.
'We’re transforming mental health by working with infants, children, young people and their families, their communities and professionals to deliver timely evidence-based support for all.'
Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
Please follow the links for information about Children and Young People Mental Health Services (CYPMHS)
This A-Z gives you advice on how to help your child with specific mental health conditions, and life events which might be negatively affecting their wellbeing. it will also show you where you can get help.
Spot the Signs is a suicide prevention campaign, helping to remove the stigma of talking openly about suicide. They provide training courses and signpost to mental health services available in Hertfordshire.
Spot the signs campaign is run in partnership with:
Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
Herts County Council
Hertfordshire Mind Network
Hertfordshire Mind Network deliver essential mental health support in Hertfordshire, providing a diverse range of services over seven Wellbeing Centres and other venues across all ten districts of the county. The services are available to all residents in Hertfordshire over the age of 18 and they offer dedicated services for 15-18 year olds.
Parenting Together is one strand of the Reducing Parental Conflict Programme led by the Department of Work and Pensions. This programme is funded and managed by the Department of Work and Pensions, but is being coordinated locally by Hertfordshire County Council on behalf of all participating local authorities.
Hertfordshire County Council is the main contact point for all queries about the programme from local areas, and will receive and quality check all referrals before passing them onto the provider. A steering group of all 6 local authorities meets regularly to manage the local elements of the programme.
When family life is good, children thrive. Find out why relationships between parents matter so much to children, and how to improve your relationship with your partner or ex-partner. For tools and information to help support your family you can use the following website. www.parentingtogether.org.uk
Support for Families and Carers
The Living Room
The Living Room have developed a range of services to support adults suffering with the illness of addiction and their family members and carers. If you are currently using drugs or alcohol, The Living Room can help you find harm reduction services in Hertfordshire to help you safely reduce before you join.
Supporting children and families affected by a family member's offending.
Visiting Times app
Through the free Visiting Times app, you can:
- hear about other families’ experiences
- explore parts of a prison
- learn why it’s important to stay in touch with a relative inside
Visiting Times works on all smartphones and tablets
Click HERE for the Android version on Google Play.
Click HERE for the Apple version on the App store.
This short film, produced by Fixers, depicts the life of a teenager whose parent is in and out of prison.
Child's Journey WorksheetsMy dad's in prison, my childhood's on hold - Radio 1 Newsbeat