Welcome to Monks Risborough Primary School's mental health page. This page has been developed in collaboration with Everlief Child Psychology and provides a wide range of support for you and your child.
At Monks Risborough, we believe in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. This page will be used to supply information and resources via the files below.
At Monks, we believe in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive. Our school vison and values underpin everything that we do.
We all have mental health – some people call this emotional health or wellbeing.
The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual achieves their potential, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act. Contrary to popular belief, mental health is relevant to everyone, not just those with mental health problems. Mental health can fluctuate over time, similar to physical health.
The term ‘mental health’ is used to describe various conditions that cause changes in feelings or behaviours. Examples include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and psychosis. This list is not exhaustive.
Good mental health and wellbeing is just as important as good physical health. Like physical health, mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy to unwell; it can fluctuate on a daily basis and change over time.
Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. It is thought that this is probably because of changes in the way that we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.
It is worth noting that one in ten children will experience mental health issues, and more than 50% of these issues begin before the age of 14. For further statistics on mental health, you can find information here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/children-young-people-statistics
Children and young people undergo various behavioural changes as part of their growth process. While some changes are typical for young people, in certain cases, they may indicate the development of mental health conditions. The Action for Children charity has devised an easy way to help adults recognise common signs that can be useful in identifying concerns about a child or young person’s mental health. They can be remembered using the acronym ‘MASK’.
M – Mood. Look out for argumentative behaviour, aggression, negative emotions, self- criticism, and withdrawal in children and young people.
A – Actions. Changes in eating or sleeping patterns, signs of bullying, substance misuse, or self-harm (such as cutting, burning, or hair pulling) can indicate mental health issues.
S – Social. Losing touch with friends, changing friendship groups, appearing lonely or withdrawn, and losing interest in school or hobbies can be signs of mental health illnesses.
K – Keep talking. Children and young people may not readily express their feelings. Don’t give up, keep asking how they are feeling, let them know you care, and that you’ll be there for them.
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
Other factors are also important, including:
Encouraging & Comforting Scriptures
Do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
So don’t worry, because I am with you.
Don’t be afraid, because I am your God.
I will make you strong and will help you.
I will support you with my right hand that saves you.
Discussing mental health can be challenging. Children and young people may worry about being labelled or stigmatised, upsetting others, or the potential consequences. Parents and carers may have concerns about saying the wrong thing, exacerbating the situation, or treatment options.
Creating a safe and loving environment is crucial for children with mental illness. Maintain a supportive and low-stress atmosphere at home. Structure can be helpful in reducing stress. Parents and carers can try making a contract with their child, ensuring they feel comfortable talking or finding alternative ways to communicate when they’re struggling e.g., texting. This gives children a safe outlet to express their feelings.
A safe environment also entails open communication and dialogue. Encourage your child to understand their own mental health by regularly checking up on their wellbeing. Help them understand how to manage their emotions, identity feelings, and recognise their influence on behaviour. The ‘Triangle of Feelings’ can be useful in this regard. This allows young people to understand how we think, feel, and behave, and how each influences each other.
You are not alone. There are numerous resources available to assist you and your child. The provided links connect to organisations and charities dedicated to supporting children, young people, and their parents through episodes of mental health.
If you have concerns about your child, you can also reach out to your GP, school nurse, or school’s safeguarding team for support and guidance.
In school, we teach children about what it means to have good mental health and wellbeing throughout our curriculum and daily practice.
Our PSHE curriculum focuses specifically on developing children’s social and emotional skills which can prevent poor mental health from developing and help all children cope effectively with setbacks and remain healthy. It is about helping children to understand and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and build skills that help them to thrive, such as working in a team, persistence, and self-awareness.
We celebrate good mental health and wellbeing through displays, start of the day activities (Mindfulness Mondays/Wellbeing Wednesdays) and through cross curricular day and celebrating events (e.g. mental heath week) in our collective worships. We promote expressing our feelings by using the zones of regulations which helps children to identify feelings and how to express them in a positive way.
Mental health doesn’t mean being happy all the time and neither does it mean avoiding stresses altogether. One of the most important ways to help your child is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously.
In many instances, children and young people’s negative feelings and worries usually pass with the support of their parents and families. It is helpful for the school to know what they are going through at these times, so that staff can be aware of the need and support this.
Coping and adjusting to setbacks are critical life skills for children, just as they are for adults, but it is important that they develop positive, rather than negative, coping skills.
If you are ever worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing then, just as you would about any concerns that you have about their learning, come and talk to us. Sometimes children will need additional support for a short period – this may be in the form of a daily check-in with a trusted adult, time to talk through what they are feeling and support in developing ways of moving forwards with this.
If your child is distressed for a long time, if their negative feelings are stopping them from getting on with their lives, if their distress is disrupting family life or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways you would not expect at their age, then please speak to your child's teacher.
If things are getting you down, it’s important to recognise this. Talk to someone you trust and see what they think. It is easy to go on struggling with very difficult situations because you feel that you should be able to cope and don’t deserve any help.
Come and talk to us, in confidence and let us know when things are tough. As much as you try to hide how you are feeling from your child, they will notice even the smallest changes.
Go to your GP if things are really getting on top of you. Asking for some support from your doctor or a referral to a counselling service is a sign of strength. You can’t help your child if you are not being supported yourself.
There are some great external agencies that support you with you or your child with mental health or wellbeing issues. Please find links to helpful websites below.
Bullying and friendship issues:
OCD In Children, Guidance For Parents: https://www.theyarethefuture.co.uk/ocd-in-children/
National Helplines for Adults and Children:
Childline – A supportive platform where children and young people can discuss their worries with someone. They can access this service online at: http://www.childline.org.uk or through the phone at: 08001111
NSPCC – A charity dedicated to combatting child abuse. They have a helpline staffed by trained professionals who can offer expert advice and support to anyone concerned about a child, parents or carers seeking guidance, or professionals in need of information. The helpline number is 08088005000. In addition to this, the NSPCC has established a helpline specifically for children, young people and worried adults and professionals dealing with abuse at school. This dedicated helpline can be reached at: 0800136663. Further information can be found on www.nspcc.org.uk
The Samaritans – Offer a confidential helpline that provides support and advice to individuals experiencing emotional distress. They can be reached on 116123 or visit www.samaritans.org for more information.
Young Minds Parentline – Offers information and advice for anyone concerned about a child or young person under the age of 25. The helpline can be reached on 08088025544 or visit https://www.youngminds.org.uk/parent/parents-helpline-and-webchat
Papyrus – A charity focused on preventing youth suicide. They have a helpline for individuals concerned about themselves or somebody they know. Helpline can be accessed on 08000684141 or visit http://www.papyrus-uk.org
Action for Children – Provides practical and emotional care and support to children, young people, and their parents or carers. They work to ensure that the voices of children and young people are heard, and advocate for lasting improvements in their lives. https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/our-work-and-impact/children-and-families/good-mental-health/
Doc Ready – Helps prepare young people for their first visit to the GP to discuss their mental health. http://www.docready.org/#/home
Headspace: A meditation and stress relief guide. https://www.headspace.com
SAM (Self-Help For Anxiety Management): Anxiety management assistance with interactive games, tools, and an anxiety tracker. http://sam-app.org.uk
Healthy Minds: A problem solving tool aimed at students. https://www.healthyminds.org.uk
Kooth – An online platform that offers counselling and support services for children and young people. https://www.kooth.com
Mind – A national mental health charity that provides information and advice on mental health. http://www.mind.org.uk
Mood Panda: Combines mood tracking with a social network, allowing children and young people to choose whether to share their mood privately or publicly for support. https://moodpanda.com
Teenage Helpline – Provides peer-to-peer mentoring services for young people throughout the UK. https://teenagehelpline.org.uk
Drugs and Alcohol:
Supporting Children and Young People with Their Gender Identity:
For more parenting and wellbeing support for parents of school aged children please visit https://www.theyarethefuture.co.uk . Brought to you by a clinical psychologist, you can also access parent workshops, online courses, and articles to help your family thrive.