At St Hugh’s we are fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the mental health and wellbeing of all our students and staff. We take a whole school approach to promoting positive mental health that aims to help students and staff to become more resilient and to prevent problems before they arise.
The department for Education (DfE) recognises that “in order to help their pupils succeed; schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy”
Positive mental health helps us to grow, learn, form relationships and live life to its fullest.
We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s responsibility and that we all have a role to play. At our school, we aim to promote positive mental health for every child, parent, carer and for all of our staff.
We pursue this aim by using both universal, whole school approaches and specialised targeted interventions, aimed at identified vulnerable pupils and families and we recognise how important mental health and emotional wellbeing is to our lives.
Supporting students with positive mental health
We believe we have a key role in promoting students’ positive mental health and helping to prevent mental health problems. Our school has developed a range of strategies and approaches including;
- Student-led activities
- Themed days/ weeks and assemblies to raise awareness of mental health
- Transition support
- Support for vulnerable children, for example, CIN/Early Help/Family Support/ Speech and Language (SALT), LAC
- Small group work such as Lego Therapy or Dog Therapy
- Transition meetings with parent/carers, students and relevant staff
- Extra personalised transition for vulnerable children
- Key adults may support transition visits with vulnerable students
- Class activities
- Classroom scripts and signposting whole school
- Assembly themes
- Using the power of reading to explore themes and learn about emotions, difference, loss, bullying, change, resilience, etc.
- Displays and information around the school about positive mental health and where to go for help and support both within the school and outside the school
- Lunch club support
Working with Parents, Carer & Families
We recognise that the family play a key role in influencing children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing; we will work in partnership with parents, carers and families to promote emotional health and wellbeing by:
- Ensuring all parents are aware of and have access to promoting social and emotional wellbeing and preventing mental health problems;
- Highlighting sources of information and support about common mental health issues through our communication channels (website, newsletters etc.)
- Offering support to help parents, carers and families develop their parenting skills. This may involve providing information or offering small, group-based programmes run by appropriately trained health or education practitioners
- Ensuring parents, carers and other family members living in disadvantaged circumstances are given the support they need to participate fully in activities to promote social and emotional wellbeing. This will include support and or signposting to participate in any parenting sessions.
Staff are aware that they are not expected or trained to diagnose mental health conditions but may notice behaviours that may be of concern. Staff recognise that every student is different and therefore, a student or staff member can experience a variety of symptoms. Additionally, it is their responsibility to act and inform the appropriate member of staff. Staff may become aware of warning signs that may indicate a student is experiencing mental health or emotional wellbeing issues. These warning signs should always be taken seriously and staff observing any of these warning signs should communicate their concerns to a DSL.
All staff will monitor students and report any noticeable changes to:
- Attendance or punctuality
- Relationships (with family, peers or staff)
- Approach to learning
- Physical indicators
- Negative behaviour patterns
- Family circumstances
- Recent bereavement
- Health indicators
- Becoming socially withdrawn
- Changes in activity and mood (emotional, fearful, low self-esteem)
- Talking or joking about suicide
- Expressing feelings of failure, uselessness or loss of hope
- Repeated physical pain or nausea with no evident cause
A change of behaviour
Mental health disclosures
All concerns or disclosure must be immediately reported to a DSL and recorded on C-Poms.
If a student has made a disclosure and is at immediate risk of harm DO NOT LEAVE THEM and ask someone to inform to a DSL or a member of SLT immediately.
If a student chooses to disclose concerns about their mental health, or that of a friend, to a member of staff, the staff members response should always be calm, supportive and non-judgemental.
Staff should listen, rather than advise and our first thoughts should be of the student’s emotional and physical safety.
Do not promise confidentiality, explain that you would like to share their thoughts with someone else so they can get the best help.
At St Hugh’s, we recognise that many behaviours and emotional problems can be supported within the school environment, or with advice from external professionals.
Some students will need more intensive support at times, and there are a range of mental health professionals and organisations that provide support to pupils with mental health needs and their families.
The school has universal, whole school approaches, targeted approaches and specialised approaches for more complex or long-term difficulties. The school views every student as unique and therefore treats each case individually and inclusively. The school recognises that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The package of support offered will be tailored to the students’ specific needs and will include consultation with the student, parents/carers, class teacher and any other professionals involved in supporting the student. This is done to ensure that the right support is in place for the student at the right time.
The appropriate intervention and support provided will be decided in consultation with key members of staff, parents and students.