Mental Health and wellbeing
We believe that it is essential that children’s learning not only improves their educational understanding but also develops their physical, emotional and social health.
In class, the children are actively encouraged to discuss different emotions and mental health difficulties openly during circle times and PHSE lessons. In these sessions, teachers provide the children with opportunities to explore different emotions, share their own experiences and generate strategies to support each other. We also run different nurture groups where children are invited to develop their confidence, improve their self esteem and begin to better understand their anxieties and worries.
Mental Health Collaborations
Mental health and wellbeing should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. At the Meadows we want you to know that we are doing everything we can to support and safeguard our young people’s wellbeing. We are fortunate enough to be engaged in two projects that are supporting us in this endeavour:
- New Start
“NewStart is an expert-led approach to whole school improvement for resilience. Currently funded through the NHS to work with … schools in the city, this asset-building approach helps school leaders develop sustainable, whole school, targeted systems that build resilience approaches. The key is to support pupils and staff raise achievement over time.
As an asset-building approach rather than a prescriptive programme, NewStart seeks to build strength and confidence within existing school systems.”
- MHSTs (Mental Health Support Teams in Schools)
“In 2017, the Government published its Green Paper for Transforming children and young people’s mental health, which detailed proposals for expanding access to mental health care for children and young people, building on the national NHS transformation programme which is already underway.
Its proposals were focused on providing additional support through schools and colleges and reducing waiting times for treatment. Following a 13-week public consultation, during which the Government received more than 2,700 responses, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education published its Response to the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper Consultation.
Supported by partners, NHS England and NHS Improvement is leading the delivery of two of the programme’s main commitments:
Establishing new Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs), jointly delivered with the Department for Education. MHSTs are intended to provide early intervention on some mental health and emotional wellbeing issues, such as mild to moderate anxiety, as well as helping staff within a school or college setting to provide a ‘whole school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. The teams will act as a link with local children and young people’s mental health services and be supervised by NHS staff;
Trialling a four-week waiting time for access to specialist NHS children and young people’s mental health services, building on the expansion of NHS services already underway.”
There are lots of things we can do to protect our mental health, here are just a few that we do:
- A school ethos that is caring and open
- All of our staff are trained in emotional coaching
- Everyone Welcome Everyone Equal – ensuring no one is excluded/ discriminated against and everyone is included
- Literature and resources that reflect our global community
- Peacemakers conflict resolution program/ peer mentoring (on hold due to COVID)
- The daily mile
- Weekly PE sessions
- Our Resource Base do yoga regularly!
- Regular circle times in all classes and year groups
- Trained mental health champions and mental health first aider
We all hope that no one we love or care for will need support with their wellbeing, but it is becoming increasingly common with 1 in 10 young people suffering. Possible warning signs to look out for include (but are not limited to):
- Changes in activity and mood; sadness or withdrawal that lasts at least two weeks or severe mood swings
- Increased isolation away from friends or family or becoming unusually socially withdrawn
- Physical signs of harm that appear non-accidental
- Changes in eating habits including excessive unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Lowering academic achievement
- Repeated lateness or absence from school
- Repeated physical pain or nausea with no evident cause
- Secretive behaviour
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
- Missing Physical Education or getting changed secretively
- Fearful, anxious, withdrawn and demonstrating poor self-esteem
- Aggressive, coercive or controlling behaviour
- Indiscriminate contact or affection seeking
- Over friendliness or excessive clinginess
- Expressing feelings of failure, uselessness or helplessness
- Unwilling to talk about feelings
- Finding it hard to concentrate
If you have concerns about your child’s wellbeing you can always go to your GP, or download and complete our in-school referral form here. The form can be returned to school via your child’s class teacher or handed to the office addressed to the Mental Health Team.
Once we receive your referral we will consider the best next steps. In most cases a face to face meeting is helpful, where this is not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions we will usually arrange a phone call instead.
We will do all we can to support your child in school, but from time to time external support is beneficial. We will always discuss this with you if we feel it would be of help and will work with you to do the best for your child. Below are a list of the external support that we use here at The Meadows:
- Forward Thinking Birmingham including PAUSE drop-in service. Tel: 0300 300 0099
- Young Minds. Tel: 0808 802 5544
- Birmingham Mind (Mental Health Support Service). Tel: 0121 608 8001
- Birmingham Healthy Minds (Help with depression and anxiety). Tel: 0121 301 2525
A variety of resources can be found through 'The Waiting Room'.
Staff at the Meadows have all received Peacemakers training and follow the restorative justice approach when helping children to solve problems that they have personally encountered. This enables them to identify the source of the problem, understand their own and other people’s feelings and take responsibility for their actions.
When helping children to solve problems, five key questions are always asked in line with the restorative justice approach. These are:
1. What happened?
2. What were/ are you thinking?
3. What were/ are you feeling?
4. Who has been affected and how?
5. What do you need (to do) to move forward?
Our belief is that when children are given more independence and responsibility for their actions, they are more able to make meaningful resolutions and build relationships with others to move forward and find peace.
Our school is part of a community and we’d love to work with you to support our children! If you have any concerns or worries regarding your child’s emotional and mental health, please feel free to speak to a Mental Health First Aid champion.