Mental Health and Wellbeing

Purpose

To support school staff to look after their own mental health and wellbeing and that of other stakeholders.

Advice

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support in Schools and Colleges

The DfE have published an overview of government initiatives and advice relating to mental health and wellbeing. This includes information on:

  • Whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing
  • Senior mental health leads training
  • Wellbeing for education recovery
  • The Link Programme
  • Relationships, health and sex education (RHSE) training module
  • Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs)
  • Psychological first aid training

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Wellbeing for Education Recovery Project- wellbeing support available locally for schools **2021/2022**

Wellbeing for Education Return/Recovery is a government funded package of training and resources. It’s aim is to support education staff towards securing mental wellbeing and resilience in children and young people. Also to support teacher’s and parent’s/carers’ mental wellbeing and resilience and to aid mental health recovery, considering the impact of COVID-19. The initial phase of the project ran from September 2020-March 2021. Additional funding has now been confirmed so that the recovery project can continue into 2021/2022.

So far in Milton Keynes, the following has been available to education settings as part of the Return Phase of the project:

  • Webinar training sessions for school staff on the topic of whole school resilience, and bereavement and loss. For setting staff who were unable to attend, a short, recorded webinar entitled ‘Every Interaction Matters’ is also available. 
  • Locally developed information summaries on the support and resources available on the following key topics: anxiety and staff wellbeing.
  • Webinar sessions on the topic of staff wellbeing.
  • A professional supervision offer for education staff.
  • A webinar session for parents on the topic of bereavement and loss during the pandemic.

The Educational Psychology Service web pages, WfER Project Summary (PDF, 201KB)and WfER Project Overview (PDF, 125KB) provide more detailed information about the project in Milton Keynes and support currently available.

Further information about the next stage of the project will be made available in Autumn Term 2021.

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Mentally Healthy Schools (Anna Freud Centre)

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Anna Freud Centre has been creating fortnightly toolkits that contain helpful resources to help us navigate this difficult time. The toolkits include resources for parents, children and young people, and schools on various themes including:  

  • staff and parent wellbeing
  • supporting vulnerable children and children with SEND
  • transitions
  • anxiety

Resources for mental health and wellbeing and the toolkits.

The Anna Freud Centre has also launched its 5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework, a simple, free and interactive tool to help schools and colleges develop a whole setting approach on their own terms.

They will be holding five seminars throughout the year based on each of the steps: Leading Change, Working Together, Understanding Need, Promoting Wellbeing and Supporting Staff.

The website has also recently added resources on stress awareness and surveying wellbeing in school staff.

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Transitions: A Focus on Wellbeing

The Milton Keynes Educational Psychology Service (EPS) and the Inclusion and Intervention team created some guidance to support children and young people returning to school following the COVID-19 pandemic in September. It was designed to support school staff and parents/carers, and builds upon the principles in the Recovery Curriculum. It focuses on prioritising nurture, relationships and emotional wellbeing.

Whilst the context is now different, the principles in the document remain pertinent to support wellbeing of children and many can be applied to the changing context. 

The Returning to School Guidance document can be viewed here (PDF, 1.8MB)

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Education Staff Wellbeing Charter

The Education Staff Wellbeing Charter was created to highlight staff wellbeing in the education sector. It designed to be a tool for schools and colleges to create, and publicly commit to, their own wellbeing strategies. All state funded schools and colleges are invited to familiarise themselves with the charter, and to sign up when it is available in the autumn, as a shared commitment to protect, promote and enhance the wellbeing of their staff.

It is voluntary and there is no deadline to sign up.

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Teaching about mental health and wellbeing

The DfE has published the first of the relationships, sex and health education training modules for teachers. This supports them in preparing to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing. The training module on teaching about mental wellbeing has been developed with clinical experts and schools. It will improve teacher confidence in talking and teaching about mental health and wellbeing in the classroom. It was published early given the importance of supporting pupils’ mental health and wellbeing at this time.

A communication to schools about the implementation of the RSHE curriculum (PDF, 77KB) outlines the DfE expectations in the first year of compulsory RSHE teaching and explains the flexibilities you have due to COVID-19.

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Advice for Adults

Public Health

MK Public Health has a wealth of information for adults about looking after your mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic. This includes signposting to useful resources and information about dealing with bereavement at this time.

NSPCC

The NSPCC has created several resources to support parents and carers during this difficult time. These can be found on the NSPCC website. Topics include:

  • talking to a child worried about coronavirus
  • parents working from home
  • children staying home alone
  • lockdown and separated parents
  • how to cope with tantrums and other difficult behaviour

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NHS – Every Mind Matters

Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. The Every Mind Matters website has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Content includes:

  • 10 tips to help if you’re worried about coronavirus
  • Looking after children and young people
  • 7 simple ideas to tackle working at home
  • Mental wellbeing while staying at home
  • Free mind plan
  • Ways to get support for yourself
  • Ways to help other people

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Drugs, Alcohol and Young People

Young people’s substance misuse is a growing issue and MKC provides support for local families. This attachment contains valuable information and explains how to access council support services. (PDF, 385KB)

DFE mental health and wellbeing guidance

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Further evidence-based information

The documents below provide schools with more useful information.  These include tips for promoting mental health, tips on working from home and information that could be shared with families.

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Advice for children

Children’s guide to Coronavirus

The Children’s Commissioner for England has created a child friendly guide about coronavirus that aims to answer children’s questions. It explains how to stay safe, how to protect other people and how to make the best of time spent at home. Download the child friendly guide about coronavirus from the Children's Commisioner website.

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Coronavirus - A free book for Children illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Axel Scheffler (illustrator of The Gruffalo) has illustrated a digital book for primary school children about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it. Published by Nosy Crow, and written by staff within the company, the book has had expert input from Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The company also had advice from two headteachers and a child psychologist. The book can be found on the website Coronavirus - A free book for Children.

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NSPCC Learning

The NSPCC have published a briefing that provides an overview of the main concerns that children and young people have been talking to Childline counsellors about during the coronavirus pandemic. Gaining an insight into the worries that children have shared with Childline during this pandemic can help adults think about what support needs to be put in place for young people at this time. You can download the NSPCC briefing here.

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Educational Psychology Service- Support during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Universal Offer

The universal level support includes resources and advice to support the wellbeing of children and young people during the pandemic.

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SEND Local Offer

The SEND local offer parents section includes some useful ideas and activities for supporting wellbeing at home.

Other useful websites/ resources:

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Mental health and wellbeing Apps:

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Last Updated: 13 July 2021