LGfL's Response to Coronavirus
Youth Mental Health Day originally scheduled for 19th September encourages understanding and discussion of mental health in young people, enabling them to live happy and healthy lives all year round. Each year, the day aims to get young people, and those who support them, talking about how to improve mental health.
stem4, a charity that supports young people to build positive mental health, is proud to be the founder of Youth Mental Health Day in the UK, which started in 2020. Join them for YMHD 2022 where they're focusing on how young people can #ConnectMeaningfully.
They have four award-winning mental health apps available to download from the App Store and Google Play:
Calm Harm - a free app to help teenagers resist or manage the urge to self-harm
Clear Fear - a free app to help children and young people manage the symptoms of anxiety
Move Mood - a free app to help teenagers manage low mood and depression
Combined Minds - a free app to help families and friends provide mental health support
They have a fifth app currently in development; Worth Warrior. This will aim to help young people manage negative body image, poor self-worth, and related early-stage eating difficulties or disorders. In addition, they have a range of resources you can view and/or download.
Over the past few years we have all be in the same storm but in different boats, experiencing a wide range of thoughts and feelings. There is no doubt that this may have negatively impacted on young people’s wellbeing and mental health.
For many pupils (and school staff), technology has been fantastic in enabling us to stay connected with loved ones, provided a platform for online learning and to gain access to wellbeing resources, however, we should recognise that everyone’s needs are different. Whatever the young people you work with are feeling right now, please know that they are not alone and that there is always help available.
We need to create a vision for recovery where every child and young person is seen, heard and their feelings validated. Young people have experienced loss in many forms throughout these times, we now need to bridge the gap of opportunity for repair.
We know that good mental health can have a great impact on the life outcomes of young people. We also know the benefits of connecting with others though social activities and achievements. The Princes Trust offer the opportunity for young people to stretch and grow through their programmes of life experiences.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing researched and developed by The New Economics Foundation is a great way to explore ways to look after our mental health and wellbeing. Start taking action with your pupils today by getting them to list the things that they can do to Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning and Give.
LGfL's Mental Health and Wellbeing site; a resource that is intended to support schools to develop a positive culture and talk about "mental wealth". The videos explore the range of unique training opportunities offered to the LGfL community to support schools wherever they are currently on their journey regarding mental health and wellbeing for both staff and pupils.
We feature 'Best For You'; created by a group of leading NHS organisations who have come together with young people to create a transformative new way of delivering mental health services for young people.
Best For You will combine physical and mental health care across digital, community, day, and inpatient settings. The new model of care is initially based in North West London, with digital resources for young people across the UK.
The resource is grouped into the following areas:
The portal is designed to be used by staff within schools to plan their whole school approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing and how all parts of the school community can be supported. The expert video clips, information packs and carefully curated external links are provided for staff to deliver comprehensive support. Alongside videos, there are also template policies, wellbeing questionnaires and guidance for schools to use and adapt as well as thinking points that can be used as part of staff development looking at the importance of wellbeing for staff, the community and for the video below the importance of Mental Health and Wellbeing for pupils.
LGfL's Healthy Minds was produced in partnership with the leading mental health charity for young people - Young Minds. The resource features a range of teacher led activities involving group work promoting self reflection and video content with supporting activities. The main activities are designed for use with learners in upper KS2, KS3 and KS4 with some resources designed for use by staff and/or for parents.
The resource is split into the following sections:
Young Minds also have a range of resources to support schools. Their 360° schools programme helps you to put wellbeing at the heart of your schools’ improvement. By joining their YoungMinds 365° Schools’ Community, you’ll receive free tips, advice and handy resources straight to your inbox.
As part of the ongoing partnership between LGfL and Child Bereavement UK, a Bereavement Toolkit brings together a suite of support material for school communities to manage different aspects of bereavement for young people. There has been a great deal of coverage about Queen Elizabeth II's recent death and this (on top of the pandemic) will have lots of young people thinking about death and grief. We worked with the team at Child Bereavement UK to produce the resource 'Having Honest Conversations About Death and Grief' which aims to boost confidence for staff in having conversations in school with young people about death and grief. Although there is some direct reference to the impact and consequences of Covid 19 – the resource is broader in its scope; supporting important conservations within school communities with an acknowledgement that young people are managing the consequences of death within their lives that can be both related and unrelated to Covid. It is important that for whatever reason, young people are supported sensitively and appropriately as they come to terms with the impact this will have on their lives.
The toolkit features three separate but inter-related resources:
Look, Think, Do contains a range of editable social stories that can be used within the class, with groups or individual students . These resources facilitate social development by using reduced language, visual support and images, structure and small steps, a positive focus, and, when appropriate, choice. The photo-based, visual resource is divided into four key sections: Learning to Play; Learning to Say; Learning to Change and Learning to Help Myself. Editable storyboards bring difficult situations to life in a non-threatening manner and enable pupils to discuss solutions and strategies, and alternative and ideal endings. This can have a positive effect on the choices they make and the way they communicate thier needs.
Also one of the themes for LGfL's Amplify is Wellness. The goal of Amplify is to support creative activities that promote critical reflection and honest conversation within school communities, enabling all members (whatever their age) to engage with issues that matter to them. For the theme "Wellness" we want students to examine and explore what can be done to ensure people look after themselves both physically and mentally. See the page for suggested activities and do remember to submit your pupils' completed work too.
The Islington Mental Health and Resilience in Schools resource (iMAHRS) sets out the components of school practice and ethos that effectively develop resilience, promote positive mental health and support children at risk of, or experiencing, mental health problems. You can view the framework here.
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has a range of resources for schools, including some fantastic booklets that look at supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools. The website also features a fantastic talking mental health animation (see below) along with a teacher toolkit to help begin conversations about mental health in the classroom and beyond.
Mentally Healthy Schools is where schools can find a range of expert and practical information and resources to help all staff understand, promote and deal confidently with children’s mental health issues. It includes jargon-free information on what can undermine and what can help emotional wellbeing; tips and strategies to help; and specific advice on vulnerable groups.
Charlie Waller Memorial Trust is a charity that hosts a free mental health book club for school mental health leads. Schools can opt in to receive a book and accompanying resources once a term. These aim to enhance the skills, confidence and knowledge of those who work with children and young people, by providing them with resources they can use to promote positive mental health. The trust has also produced two excellent lists of book recommendations for both a primary and secondary wellbeing library as well as a model policy for schools to use. They have also produced a series of webinars that staff can use. The sessions cover a wide variety of topics and offer plenty of practical advice and signpost recommended resources.
Some content re-edited from blog posts on similar themes.