Within our schools and college and nationally this has been an important week: Mental Health Awareness Week, and as a country we have moved on so much? Although we can now legitimately and openly have conversations about one’s mental health and well-being at any time, this week we have all been thinking that little bit more about these issues. I know that there have been some great things taking place in all of our institutions, in recognition of this national campaign, from the one-to-one and personal, through to karaoke singing in the courtyard at TRC. What seems to me to be really important is that we can now just be more open and honest about where we are at, as individuals, and that old-fashioned British approach of suppressing one’s emotions and feelings is far less prevalent. That’s real progress and important for our communities, our schools and college and nation.
As we all know that when we are working with children and young people it is early intervention, to identify issues and provide effective support, that is crucial. We know that we’ve got a multi-layered approach which includes prevention, identification, early support and then, where necessary, access to specialist support. If that works for the children and young people we should (and do) apply that to our work with colleagues.
I am happy to recognise that the eight principles to promote a whole school and college approach to mental health and wellbeing, as presented by the DfE, is something that we should aspire to. In stating that I am committing this Trust to those principles. We won’t always get it right but our endeavours and aspirations are clear.
In summary those principles are: the leadership teams support and champion efforts to promote emotional health and wellbeing; we offer a curriculum and teaching and learning that promotes resilience and supports social and emotional learning; we will enable pupil, student and staff voice to influence decisions; we will commit to staff development which supports colleagues being able to own their wellbeing and that of pupil / students, we will support the identification of need and will endeavour to monitor the impact of interventions; we all will continue to work with parents and carers; for pupils, students and staff we will offer targeted support and appropriate referrals; we will maintain and nurture an ethos and environment that promotes respect and values diversity.
‘Mental health affects every aspect of your life. It’s not just this neat little issue you can put into a box’. Shannon Purser
That’s my clear statement to you all. I know that we won’t always get it right, but it won’t be for the want of trying. Look after yourself. Look after each other. Work with us.