NEXT week marks Mental Health Awareness week, so we wanted to share how one school is helping its children speak out, get help and help each other.

Recent figures show that one in 10 children and young people aged between five and 16 suffer from a mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class . And according to The Mental Health Foundation, between one in every 12 and one in 15 young people deliberately self-harm. These startling figures highlight an issue that needs addressing not just at home but in classrooms.

One school targetting this issue head on is St Mary and St Thomas’ CE Primary School.

St Helens Star:

Some of the initiatives include Cup of Positivitea (small afternoon tea talking sessions) the whisper button on the school’s website where pupils can communicate with staff from home, daily peer on peer massage, meditation and mindfulness time, Lego therapy, using puppets and models to explain feelings, self worth art and windmill breathing,

Linda Smith, Director of Wellbeing at the school, said: “You cannot separate a child mental health from them as an individual. What affects their thoughts will affect them, their schooling and their behaviour.

St Helens Star:

“We have been working for more than 10 years to create an environment and tools to help children express themselves which has led to us achieving the Gold Standard award for Mental Health and we do that through giving them different mediums to express concerns, worries and fears. We know that a lot of mental health problems adults have were diagnosed in childhood, so we are trying to help our pupils to express themselves now and help themselves which will help their futures.

“We are ensuring we are driving the messages of the importance of mental health and well-being within schools not just for pupils but for the staff and wider community and sharing our knowledge, expertise and school to school support.

St Helens Star:

“To quote Dr Bruce Perry ‘relationships are the oxygen to human development... what air to we want our society to breath’. “Our staff are trained by different practitioners, educational psychologists and specialists so we have the tools needed to help different children achieve their best.”