Farndon Fields Primary School, part of the Discovery Schools Academy Trust (DSAT) in Leicestershire, feels it’s important to encourage children to express their own mental health and feel confident to speak out.
Terri Burningham, the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ESLA) at the school, said they have a quiet area where children are able to go to chat about their worries, concerns and anxieties. They can access this at any time during the school day.
“They also have the opportunity to write their concerns down on a note,” Burningham told HuffPost UK. “This is posted in a letterbox next to my room in which we will, in turn, see the child later that day to talk.
“We encourage our children to talk and reflect on their own resilience, confidence and self-assurance, for them to believe that nothing is impossible and that ‘it is ok not to be ok!’”
Burningham added: “We help the children to identify and clarify the right emotion they are feeling and help them to help themselves by using strategies to solve their own worries in time and feel more resilient.
“This gives our children the ability to deal with anything they may come across in a variety of situations, both now and in the future.”
This was something the school continued during their work on World Mental Health Day (WMHD) on 11 October.
The school took part in Young Minds’ #HelloYellow campaign, where children and young people are encouraged to wear yellow and write positive mental health messages on bunting.
The school encouraged the children to write down their “self-care tips” by explaining what they do to cheer themselves up when they are sad.
Children were asked to explore what options they have when they’re finding things tough - at home or at school - and what makes them happy.
“We encouraged the children in the lesson to reflect on their own wellbeing,” Burningham explained.
“The children know how they feel, show how they feel and can talk about how they feel. Our whole-school approach to self-awareness encourages all our children to lead a more healthy, happy childhood, giving them the strategies to confidently help themselves as well as each other.”