Teaching children about mental health and wellbeing is essential to give them the information they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing. This will help them recognise what is normal and what is an issue in themselves and others, and when issues arise, they will know how to seek support as early as possible from appropriate sources
By the end of primary school children will know:
- that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health
- that there is a normal range of emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, nervousness) and scale of emotions that all humans experience in relation to different experiences and situations
- how to recognise and talk about their emotions, including having a varied vocabulary of words to use when talking about their own and others’ feelings
- how to judge whether what they are feeling and how they are behaving is appropriate and proportionate
- the benefits of physical exercise, time outdoors, community participation
- simple self-care techniques, including the importance of rest, time spent with friends and family and the benefits of hobbies and interests
- isolation and loneliness can affect them and that it is very important for them to discuss their feelings with an adult and seek support
- that bullying (including cyberbullying) has a negative and often lasting impact on mental wellbeing
- where and how to seek support, including whom in school they should speak to if they are worried about their own or someone else’s mental wellbeing or ability to control their emotions
- it is common for people to experience mental ill health. For many people who do, the problems can be resolved if the right support is made available, especially if accessed early enough
The mental health and well-being of our community is equally important to us and so, if you have any concerns about your child, yourself or someone you know you can talk to any member of staff.
There are also many websites and resources which might support you as a family in dealing with mental health and safeguarding issues:
NSPCC have created a series of guides for parents and carers covering a range of issues, including leaving children home alone, holding babies safely and spotting signs of abuse and neglect. They are downloadable free of charge from nspcc.org.uk/leaflets.
Young Minds (https://youngminds.org.uk/)
Young minds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. There website is full of useful resources about young people’s mental health.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
This is a children’s mental health charity committed to involving young people and parents in all aspects of their work. They know that by recognising and promoting the voice of mums and dads, we can work together to better ensure mental health services are meeting the needs of families
HappyMaps: A ‘one stop shop’ for advice and support on children’s mental health
Funded by Health Education England, HappyMaps (www.happymaps.co.uk) is designed to help parents find reliable resources on behaviour and mental health for their children – from babies to young adults.
These resources include websites, videos, books, Apps and helplines. This will be helpful for parents whose children don’t meet the specialist referral thresholds or are on the CAMHS waiting list. There is good general information (national), as well as local information on counselling, charities, local CAMHS and parenting groups for the South-West and a section for professionals. You may find visiting www.happymaps.co.uk useful for advice and support.