South Cambridgeshire schools step up effort to raise awareness for mental health
Schools across South Cambridgeshire are using the Covid-19 uncertainty to raise awareness for positive mental health and self-care in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October.
More than half of parents reported their children had faced mental health challenges during the Covid-19 lockdown.
YMCA Trinity Group, the local charity that helps young people to thrive on their journey to independence, has partnered with mental health campaigns such as IAMWHOLE and Every Mind Matters, to ensure schools are equipped with the skills and strategies to manage mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Barrington CofE Primary, Fowlmere Primary, Foxton Primary, Petersfield CofE Primary and Steeple Morden CofE Primary are all organising a series of activities, each focusing on different themes or audiences.
The five schools will be engaging with staff, parents and pupils to encourage the whole school community to promote positive mental health, as well as share useful techniques and activities.
Ryan Armes, Mental Health Programme Manager for YMCA Trinity Group, said: “With 1 in 8 children having a diagnosable mental health condition, we know that there is a huge need in our schools and organisation for mental health and wellbeing support. We are delighted to be working with these schools as part of our mental health services to raise awareness of this important topic and empowering individuals to look after their wellbeing.”
Laura Penrose, Co-Head Teacher at Petersfield CofE Primary School, said: “We consulted with all of our pupils about their wellbeing and decided to focus on positive thinking as our theme of the campaign. We will engage in activities across the week in accordance with the five ‘Ways to Wellbeing’ and aim to create a class book of feelings, artwork, positive thinking posters, as well as learn new skills to adopt a growth mindset.
“Working collaboratively with YMCA has meant that we can offer our pupils one-to-one therapy, group work and provide access to brand new resources and initiatives, even during challenging periods like lockdown. We are so grateful for their continued, expert support and guidance.”
Recent research by UNICEF highlighted that 80% of teachers say mental health is a key priority now that schools have re-opened, and 57% of parents say their child has had mental health challenges during lockdown.
Gill Davies, Head Teacher at Barrington CofE Primary School, said: “The mental health of our whole school community is of paramount importance to Barrington CofE Primary School. We are thrilled to be working with YMCA Trinity Group to provide a whole school approach to wellbeing and offer pathways into specialist support for those that need extra help.”
YMCA Trinity Group offers a range of mental health services to schools in Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Suffolk. Since April 2015, the charity has supported 1200 children and young people with therapeutic support to tackle their mental health needs, and trained over 3300 staff.
More information is also available on our Mental Health Support for Schools page.