What do we do at E-ACT?
At E-ACT, Mental Health runs through the heart of the school. We know that supporting our children’s mental health is the most important part of our job. When children are safe and secure in their learning environment, their resilience and managing of their emotions improves and in turn improves their mental health.
The PERMA Model
We use the PERMA model of well-being. The PERMA model is a well-researched model of well-being that our curriculum has strong links to. Children have to be in a positive frame of mind if they are going to be ready to learn. The PERMA model encourages children to think about an experience, find emotions connected with that experience and reflect upon it in a calm and safe space. This strengthens children’s ability to manage their emotions and builds stronger relationships with the adults and peers they discuss this with.
This model is intertwined with our PSHE Curriculum, where mental health is planned into every lesson. Our PSHE curriculum focuses on:
- building positive relationships
- identifying who we can trust
- how we can keep mentally and physically healthy
- where we can go to find support for ourselves and others
- how we can support our community and become a positive part
- what we should do if we are worried about ourselves or others
- giving children skills they need for later life
On a Wednesday, we have ‘Well-Being Wednesday!’ where children come in and do an activity that supports their mental health. This a perfect mid-week breather that refocuses ourselves and gets us ready for the rest of the week.
We have a daily check in board, where children come into school and move their name to the emotion they are feeling. Teachers will check in on children who have moved their name to an uncomfortable emotion.
Each classroom has a Worry Box which encourages children to write their worries down to give them a space to air their worries without the pressure to speak. Teachers then find a private time to chat about any concerns.
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.
Help with difficult behaviour and emotions
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
Where to go to get more support:
Email the Mental Health Champion: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Yellow Day!
On Friday 9th October, E-ACT Blackley took part in the event: Hello Yellow Day, run by the charity Young Minds. The whole school was LIT UP with brightness! We had children in yellow t-shirts, children with yellow tights, children with yellow headbands, children with yellow EVERYTHING! Using the fantastic resources from Young Minds, each year group created a photobooth and took some lovely photos with their friends and classmates to show that we’re all in this together, have always got a support network and are never alone with your mental health. The children had some great discussions about how they can identify and support their mental health, and the mental health of others. One year group created a ‘Relaxation Toolkit’, with strategies they could use when feeling stressed or anxious and another created a ‘Hello Yellow’ dance with things that represented the colour yellow. With thanks to the amazing generosity from the parents, carers and staff, E-ACT Blackley smashed their donation target and raised a fantastic £220 for the charity. By getting involved, we have raised vital funds to help young people and their families at a time when it is most needed.