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Mental Health in Schools: Let’s Talk About It!

September 25, 2017

Mental Health in Schools: Let’s Talk About It!

Mental health is not just for grown ups. We all have a brain and, therefore, we all have mental health! The issue lies in being able to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems and what we can do to promote an inclusive, effective and open approach in our schools.

The Facts About Mental Health

Alarmingly, recent studies show that 1 in 10 children and young people will be affected by mental health problems – significantly more than 30 years ago. These problems are varied and can range from depression to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder to eating disorders.

For other children, it may simply be issues around dealing with stress, lack of control or the ability to cope with problems.

Most children grow up happy and healthy, but caregivers are crucial in helping to recognise the warning signs. Being ready to support the children under our care is imperative for pupil wellbeing.

What Can We Do?

Fortunately, in many cases help is just a few words away. That is why we at One Day are travelling the UK with our new performance tour, spreading the mental health message and encouraging pupils to say: “Let’s Talk About It”.

Talking through worries, concerns and feelings alleviates a huge amount of pressure. Words are often the first step in helping us to understand our problems and the best ways to tackle them, which is exactly where teachers come in! Through our performance, we aim to teach both pupils and teachers that mental health problems can affect anyone, but that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

Schools are an invaluable safe space for children and good mental health allows young people to develop resilience – an imperative skill for dealing with life later as an adult! Talking is crucial part of de-stigmatising mental health. The more we open up a forum, the more we send a message that it is normal to suffer, but help is always at hand.

One Day Creative - Let's Talk About It

Is It That Simple?

Unfortunately mental health is never simple, and we know talking isn’t always easy. This is something we touch upon in “Let’s Talk About It” – sometimes it can be hard to find the words that really express how we feel. But remember, communication doesn’t always have to be verbal. A simple thumbs up or thumbs down is a great way to convey our feelings. For young children, working through emotions using play creates a wonderful safe space to communicate emotions.

What Next?

Are you ready to support good mental health in your school? Our “Let’s Talk About It” performance opens up the positive mental health conversation, but continuing this open forum in school is crucial in promoting pupil wellbeing.

  • Destigmatise through conversation: Keep talking about it! A full-school assembly or dedicated ‘day of understanding’ is great, but so is casually embedding the positive messages into everyday conversation in your classrooms. The aim is to normalise mental health and in making it familiar, take away some of the stigma and scariness.
  • Incorporate physical activity: Studies show that participation in regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem, increase our mental awareness and reduce stress and anxiety. But being active doesn’t have to mean playing intensive sports or going to the gym. It can be as easy as some simple stretches, playing with a skipping rope for 10 minutes, or going for a fast walk!
  • Encourage open communication: Creative outlets such as sport, art, music or drama are a fantastic way to promote self expression in children. What’s even better, is that it is expression on their terms. In order to achieve an open and honest dialogue with children we have to be able to understand their world and what is important to them, which means finding the creative outlets which best speak to them.

One Day Creative - Let's Talk About It

We very much look forward to hearing how you are implementing mental health practices in your school! If you would like to find out more about our “Let’s Talk About It” performance tour, please visit our dedicated web page here. We also have a variety of complementary PSHE workshops to choose from, such as Mindfulness, Anti-Bullying and Stress Management.

Lots of love,

One Day Creative team x

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