Menu
  • Search
  • Translate
  • Video Controls
Home Page

St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Primary School Love One Another

Awards

Taking Care of your Mental Health

Can we help?

 

At St John's we know that life may be tricky  and we would like to help in some way if we can. 

We will be posting ideas for both children and parents in order to help .

We will try to signpost you to others who may also help.

 

MEANINGFUL MAY

Supporting your child if they see upsetting content online about what is happening in Ukraine (Childnet) https://www.childnet.com/blog/supporting-your-child-with-upsetting-content/

 

We should not hide from children what is happening in Ukraine (Schools Week/Children's Commissioner) https://schoolsweek.co.uk/we-should-not-hide-from-children-what-is-happening-in-ukraine/

 

How to talk to children about what’s happening in Ukraine and World War Three anxiety (Metro) https://metro.co.uk/2022/02/24/how-to-talk-to-children-about-whats-happening-in-ukraine-16163133/

 

Help for teachers and families to talk to pupils about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how to help them avoid misinformation (Department for Education) https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2022/02/25/help-for-teachers-and-families-to-talk-to-pupils-about-russias-invasion-of-ukraine-and-how-to-help-them-avoid-misinformation/

Children's Mental Health Week

7-13 February 2022

A letter from our Mental Health Support Team

Normalising anxiety

Firstly, it’s important for adults to normalise anxiety with children.

When teachers, therapists and parents talk openly about their own anxious experiences whilst encouraging children to do the same, it builds emotional literacy, resilience, self-esteem and much more!

When we reassure children that it’s ok to not be ok, it can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and puts the onus on the young person to develop self-regulation tools.

 

A simple way to normalise anxiety is to schedule Worry Time – a regular time slot for a young person to talk, write or draw what’s on their mind with a trusted non-judgemental adult.

This can be an effective way of encouraging children to face their fears whilst getting any anxious thoughts and feelings off their chest.

This does not have to be problem-solving activity; it can simply be a process of listening and creating a safe space for the young person to release the anxious thoughts and feelings weighing them down.

 

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the concept that our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are interrelated and looks at therapeutic ways to change our thoughts and behaviours.

Mindfulness is the process of paying attention and being in the present moment in a non-judgemental way. This may be through meditation, movement, focusing on the breath or anything that connects us to focusing on the here and now.

Similar to CBT, research shows mindfulness to be an effective coping strategy for anxiety, reducing common behavioural, psychological and physical problems in children and young people .

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy combines both practices and can be used to support the wellbeing of children, young people and adults. A simple and practical example is the STOPP technique, outlined in the table below.

 

STOPPEXAMPLES OF ACTIVITIES WHICH CAN BE SIMPLIFIED 
StopTake a moment to pause and step back from the situation. This can be by encouraging a young person to look at a calming object like a calm down jar, to shift their focus.
Take a breathEncourage the young person to be aware of their breathing to help find a sense of calm from within. This can be connected to a breathing exercise like slowly counting to 5 as they breathe in and out. 
ObserveDevelop self-inquiry skills without judgement and prompt the young person to observe one or some of their responses to the following.
  • What am I actually reacting to?
  • What thoughts are going through my mind right now?
  • What sensations do I notice in my body?
  • What else do I notice right here and now?
Pull backPut things into perspective by prompting the young person to think about the bigger picture.
  • Is there another way of looking at this?
  • What are the facts?
  • What advice would I give to a friend in this situation?
Proceed – practise what works When the young person is ready, encourage them to move forward and think about next steps.
  • Where can I focus my attention right now?
  • What is the helpful for me to do now?
  • How can I move forward and learn from this?

Conscious breathing

When a person experiences anxiety, their breathing tends to become shallow or is at a faster pace. In contrast, when they become aware of their breathing and take slow and steady full breaths, it sends messages between the brain and the parasympathetic nervous system and enhances a more balanced state of calm in the mind and body.

The benefits of conscious breathing are endless, particularly as it can help reduce anxious thoughts, feelings and uncomfortable physiological sensations. A good way to remind children to practise conscious breathing is through easy to follow practical activities, including synchronised breathing apps like headspace and calm.

In my book Mindful Little Yogis, there are over 50 practical and inclusive guided breathing activities for children and young people, particularly for those with special educational needs. One of the activities I share is Five Finger Breathing – a great way for children to trace around their hands in sync with their breathing..

 

For step by step guidance on how to do five finger breathing, take a look at Dr Pooky Knightsmith's video.

Help yourself to control your feelings

Check your child's behaviour. It may be a reaction to stress.

This short book has ideas for all the family.

Coronavirus for Children.

HELPING YOUR CHILD DURING LOCKDOWN

This book was written to help children in the current situation.

Top tips to support children and young people

 

Be there to listen

 

Regularly ask how they're doing so they get used to talking about their feelings and know there's always someone to listen if they want it. Find out how to create a space where they will open up

 

Support them through difficulties

 

Pay attention to their emotions and behaviour, and try to help them work through difficulties. It's not always easy when faced with challenging behaviour, but try to help them understand what they're feeling and why.

 

 

Stay involved in their life

 

Show interest in their life and the things important to them. It not only helps them value who they are but also makes it easier for you to spot problems and support them.

 

 

Encourage their interests

 

Being active or creative, learning new things and being a part of a team help connect us with others and are important ways we can all help our mental health. Support and encourage them to explore their interests, whatever they are.

 

Take what they say seriously

 

Listening to and valuing what they say, without judging their feelings, in turn makes them feel valued. Consider how to help them process and work through their emotions in a more constructive way.

 

Build positive routines

 

We know it still may not be easy, but try to reintroduce structure around regular routines, healthy eating and exercise. A good night's sleep is also really important – try to get them back into routines that fit with school or college.

 

These are some websites with lots of ideas and guidance for Children's Mental Health Week which starts on Monday 1st February

 

Children's Mental Health Week toolkits

Children’s Mental Health Week begins on 1st February, and the theme this year is ‘express yourself’. These toolkits include resources for children, staff and parents.

 

2 2 5 6 6 2 Visitors
Top