Staff encourage school children to talk about their mental health

Posted: 14/02/20

Children at a local first school were visited by staff from mental health and learning disabilities services to learn about their mental health.

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, staff from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) presented to a Year 3 class at Grange First School in Gosforth.

The theme was ‘Find Your Brave’, encouraging children to share their worries and ask for help which, in turn, can build confidence and self-esteem.

Helen Dawson and Dr Rachel Gore worked on a range of activities looking at times when the children needed to be brave and things that might be worrying them. Some of the things pupils were concerned about were schoolwork, moving to a new school and things they were fearful of.

Helen Dawson, Team Manager at the Northumberland and North Tyneside Psychiatric Liaison Team, part of CNTW, said: “The children were really engaged with the activities and all of them contributed to discussions.

“Children respond to things differently and sometimes they don’t know how to process their feelings or understand why they might be worrying about things.

“It’s so important for them to talk about it and know that sharing things can be really helpful.”

Mr Matt Ward, Head Teacher at Grange First School, said: “We are committed to ensuring our children are as happy as they can possibly be.

“We try to offer as many avenues as we can for children to talk to members of staff and to each other if they have an issue, such as counselling, worry boxes, ‘Walk and Talk’ playtimes and a diary room.

“We know how important it is to listen to our pupils and would like to thank CNTW staff for coming in and showing the children the positive impact talking can have.”

Teachers from the school then used the resources to do the activities with children in other year groups.

Around three children in every primary school class has a mental health problem, and many more struggle with challenges from bullying to homework. Children’s Mental Health Week aims to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.

Organised by Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity that provides counselling and mental health support and training in schools, the week aimed to spread the word that bravery doesn’t mean coping alone and holding things in but finding positive ways to deal with things which might be difficult.

CNTW is a provider of mental health and learning disability services in the North East and North Cumbria.