Today is World Mental Health Day which is an opportunity for everyone, everywhere to have a conversation about mental health and address the stigmas associated with it.
Mental health, by definition, includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life from childhood and adolescence right through adulthood.
Here at BMS we are always striving to add to the variety of ways we support students in terms of managing their own mental health and wellbeing as well as that of those around them. Such opportunities begin in our Junior School and include a ‘Managing Emotions’ programme. This is aimed at encouraging children to share and deal with their own emotions in a positive manner with 20 minutes each week set aside for the children to share their feelings with each other and collectively discuss experiences. It has proved to be beneficial and staff are already noticing its positive impact.
They also allocate time for students to reflect on their learning and teach them a variety of well-being strategies to utilise both inside and outside of the classroom. This includes yoga, meditation and even creating zentangles. Some techniques are being extended into Year 7 and beyond to ensure that students continue to develop the necessary strategies and tactics that they personally need to tackle the sometimes challenging teenager years.
We realise that understanding adolescents is also challenging for families as a whole and so we are offering sessions for parents to help them understand the challenges facing their teenage children. Focusing on raising an adolescent child, the sessions are being run by the Bedfordshire Charity, The Mind Map and are designed to promote wellbeing and resilience.
I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity today to think about issues affecting mental health and, most importantly, if you are struggling to speak out.