Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week
We are pleased to say that once again Churchward School celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, which took place between Monday 15th May and Sunday 21st May 2023. We are committed to supporting young people’s mental health, and during this time especially we believe it is important to make time to talk about mental health.
In term five for PSHCE, our focus has been ‘Health and Wellbeing’, where students have been looking at different types of self-care and reflecting on what mental health is and what it means to them. Mental Health Awareness Week brought all this together and further embedded wellbeing into the centre of our school culture at Churchward.
On Tuesday, 23rd of May, Churchward School celebrated our own Mental Health Awareness Day, where the students participated in a range of activities outside of their normal timetable. The theme was “NHS Wellbeing Five: Keep Learning, Connect, Give, Take Notice and Be Active”. Throughout the day students had the opportunity to experience different sessions led by our Thrive Practitioners and Mental Health First Aiders. For example, in our “give” lesson, students had the opportunity to go litter picking in Mouldon Hill and Redhouse Parks; this was an incredible session where the students practised their social communication skills and were able to work together to give something back to their community.
As well as this, there was also a session provided by Trailblazers, an external organisation committed to supporting the emotional wellbeing of young people by raising the profile of mental health and offering a service to talk and get further support if needed. There were two sessions, one for our KS3 students and another for our KS4 students. During this session, Trailblazers delivered a clear message of how they can support our students and it was brilliant to hear the students’ gratitude surrounding the different levels they know they can be supported by.
At Churchward School we take mental health seriously and as a result we took our learning to other schools to spread awareness, promote happiness and encourage the learning of coping strategies. This focussed on the ‘Give’ strand, as they showed kindness by leading Thrive and PE sessions for primary school students. Our sports leaders attended Westlea Primary School to lead a PE lesson that they had planned for a class. Additionally, another team of students attended Nyland Primary School where they led a Thrive session with the younger students. During this session, our students supported their younger peers with creating a jar of joy, an amazing strategy that they can use to support their emotional wellbeing. They also planned and led an indoor treasure hunt for those lucky enough to take part. We were incredibly proud of the students that had gone to Nylands; to watch some of them go back to their previous environment and be able to show their old school how far they had come was amazing. We could not be prouder of the maturity, kindness and understanding our students presented while attending the primary schools this day.
At Churchward we believe that mental health shouldn’t just be spoken about at school, and so we also encourage students to continue to try different activities at home. For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we decided to create a pack that was sent home for our students and their families to have. This helps us reinforce the key messages of mental health awareness week not only with our students, but also with their parents, carers, siblings and so on as we know that the mental wellbeing of those closest to our students will always affect how they feel and how they manage their own emotions. The national theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 was ‘Anxiety’, which is a common feeling that can sometimes get out of control. We believe these resources could have helped in addressing this topic with their families. In this pack we included:
- Five Ways to Wellbeing
- Coping Strategies
- Symptoms of Anxiety (Physical, Psychological and Behavioural)
- The Worry Tree
- Self-Care Bullet Journal
It was an incredible time for all involved; the staff who were able to see the progress our students had made, but most importantly for the students themselves. Although we look forward to next year, we will continue to use the strategies developed to support ourselves and those around us.