As mental health and well-being becoming an increasing priority for schools, we’ve put together our top tips on how you can promote positive mental health in your classrooms.
1. Building Awareness
Giving students the knowledge and awareness about mental health is the first step in forming a culture of positive mental health in school. A useful initial activity would be to have an assembly which would form an open discussion about what students think mental health is and addressing the actualities of mental health and its different forms. This concept could be rolled out termly and even extended out to the wider community by inviting parents to also attend. Parental involvement would aid in creating a sense of community, all dedicated to building awareness of mental health and well-being.
2. Tackling Stigma
It’s important to go further than raising awareness of mental health in schools. You will also ideally try to tackle the possible stigma and prejudices surrounding mental health in order to set the right tone and culture in your classrooms. This could also be addressed with a Q & A section as part of the assembly, so any thoughts or questions surrounding mental health can be answered. This will help students to be more understanding and compassionate to anyone who may be dealing with mental health issues.
3. Communication is Key
Having a foundation of mental health awareness in the classroom and school lets you have a basis for communication between the school body. By openly addressing what mental health is you will build confidence in your students, allowing them to feel more comfortable when talking about mental health. The more that communication is encouraged will ultimately help maintain a positive well-being ethos in the school.
4. Promote Life Skills
Actions can often be better than words, therefore it’s useful to introduce life skills to students to help them to sustain positive mental well-being which they can take with them for throughout their lives. For example, meditation is a popular technique that some schools have adopted. Lessons can also be adapted with activities for students to help them learning how to, relax, self-manage, and be compassionate. These activities will give students the tools for both their own well-being and aiding others.
5. Assign Dedicated Roles
Alongside the first four tips, it’s a good idea to assign a dedicated ‘Mental Health Champion’ within the school. This person will have the task of ensuring mental health awareness is maintained and that any activities you should decide to integrate into school life are acted on. Also publically assigning this role to a member of staff within the school gives everyone in the school body a clear point of contact should there be any questions, suggestions or concerns about mental health and well-being.
We’ve run a series of popular sessions with Dr Pooky Knightsmith in partnership with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, a charity that provides fully-funded mental health training to schools.
‘…an excellent presentation…with some excellent signposts [my] job will now be so much easier’ - Alison Keyes, Pupil and Family Support Manager, Wren's Nest Primary School.
If you’re interested in mental health and well-being in schools, you may be interested in some of our upcoming events. See what’s upcoming near you on our dedicated events page.
To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.