At Sedlescombe CofE Primary School, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
A child’s mental health will affect them for the rest of their life; it influences their overall health, happiness and productivity into adulthood. Promoting and protecting mental health in school is therefore one of the most important things we can do for them. Half of all lifetime mental health problems develop by the age of 14, affecting approximately three children in every classroom. Untreated problems in early life lead to adult mental illness.
As well as lifetime wellbeing there are immediate benefits to positive emotional health. Children are happier, make friends and sustain relationships, are aware of and understand others, face problems and setbacks and learn from them, enjoy their play and leisure time and, most importantly for schools, they learn better.
Tools and approaches used in school to support Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being
The ZONES of Regulation
What are The ZONES of Regulation?
The ZONES help us understand how we are feeling.
It helps us be able to identify our own feelings, read other people’s body language to think about how they are feeling, and relate to others.
At Sedlescombe we use Zones of Regulation throughout the school. Some children will require additional support to identify and regulate their emotions. Intervention groups will work through the programme.
We are very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful woodland and areas of outstanding natural beauty and making use of this to support children’s learning and emotional development is part of our curriculum and ethos.
We believe in the philosophy that underpins the Forest School movement where every child is encouraged and inspired to develop their personal, social and emotional skills through participation in tasks and activities which are motivating and achievable. For more information please visit our Forest School page.
We are offering a new wellbeing initiative at the school in collaboration with Becky Fisher, The Youth Fairy Hastings, a local children’s mental health service. The aim of the programme, is to improve negative self-belief and behaviours children may be exhibiting due to underlying anxiety and/or low self-esteem.
Becky has a background in education and has been teaching for 12 years. She is now a practicing child therapist specialising in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy (SFH) for children and teenagers.
SFH is a positive focused talk therapy combined with guided relaxation and actively encourages children to re-focus more on the positive aspects of their lives, improve quality of sleep and engage in more positive actions, activities and interactions. Children who work with Becky are also taught the neuroscience behind anxiety, anger, negativity and low confidence (in a child friendly way); how they are created in the brain and why they cause children to feel and behave in certain ways. This knowledge helps children to gain a better understanding of their mental health and wellbeing and shows them how take more control in self managing it more effectively for themselves in the future.
Solution focused means that children will not need to delve into past issues, as the focus is on the future, how they would prefer to be feeling and behaving, and to help them achieve these desired outcomes. The aim is to recognise the skills and strengths they already have and to discover the small steps which they can take to move forward and cope more calmly and confidently with the day-to-day challenges in their life.
Top Tips From the Youth Fairy!
Check back for more top tips from the Youth Fairy in the coming months!
Below, are links to information and guidance about the issues most commonly seen in school-aged children.
|Area of need||Description||Online Support|
|Self-harm describes any behaviour where a young person causes harm to themselves in order to cope with thoughts, feelings or experiences they are not able to manage in any other way. It most frequently takes the form of cutting, burning or non-lethal overdoses in adolescents, while younger children and young people with special needs are more likely to pick or scratch at wounds, pull out their hair or bang or bruise themselves.||SelfHarm.co.uk: www.selfharm.co.uk|
National Self-Harm Network: www.nshn.co.uk
|Ups and downs are a normal part of life for all of us, but for someone who is suffering from depression these ups and downs may be more extreme. Feelings of failure, hopelessness, numbness or sadness may invade their day-to-day life over an extended period of weeks or months, and have a significant impact on their behaviour and ability and motivation to engage in day-to-day activities.||Depression Alliance: www.depressionalliance.org/|
|Anxiety, panic attacks and phobias|
|Anxiety can take many forms in children and young people, and it is something that each of us experiences at low levels as part of normal life. When thoughts of anxiety, fear or panic are repeatedly present over several weeks or months and/or they are beginning to impact on a young person’s ability to access or enjoy day-to-day life, intervention is needed.||Anxiety UK: www.anxietyuk.org.uk|
|Obsessions and compulsions|
|Obsessions describe intrusive thoughts or feelings that enter our minds which are disturbing or upsetting; compulsions are the behaviours we carry out in order to manage those thoughts or feelings. For example, a young person may be constantly worried that their house will burn down if they don’t turn off all switches before leaving the house. They may respond to these thoughts by repeatedly checking switches, perhaps returning home several times to do so. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can take many forms – it is not just about cleaning and checking.||OCD UK: www.ocduk.org/ocd|
|Young people may experience complicated thoughts and feelings about wanting to end their own lives. Some young people never act on these feelings though they may openly discuss and explore them, while other young people die suddenly from suicide apparently out of the blue.|
|Prevention of young suicide UK – PAPYRUS: www.papyrus-uk.org|
|Food, weight and shape may be used as a way of coping with, or communicating about, difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours that a young person experiences day to day. Some young people develop eating disorders such as anorexia (where food intake is restricted), binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa (a cycle of bingeing and purging). Other young people, particularly those of primary or preschool age, may develop problematic behaviours around food including refusing to eat in certain situations or with certain people. This can be a way of communicating messages the child does not have the words to convey.||Beat – the eating disorders charity: www.b-eat.co.uk/about-eating-disorders|
Local Support for Primary Age Children
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the external organisations included here are reputable and well-known to school communities, and that the information is correct, we cannot guarantee the quality of any agencies listed, nor take any responsibility for any services they may provide.
Allsorts – all ages, countywide. Supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people. Offers groups and 1:1 support with friendly and knowledgeable LGBT youth workers.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) – up to age 18, countywide. CAMHS supports children and young people across East Sussex who have behavioural, emotional or mental health problems. Referrals to the service must be made by a parent/carer or professional working with the child to the East Sussex Single Point of Advice (SPoA)
Dragonflies CYP Bereavement Support – all ages, Hastings, Rother and Eastbourne. Peer group sessions which encourage children and young people to share their feelings and experiences of bereavement. 1:1 support is also available for 15+ year olds and early years support for children under 5.
East Sussex Young Carers – ages 5-18, countywide. Supports young carers responsible for caring for a family member with a long-term illness, disability, mental health or substance issues. The team offer a range of short-term interventions including signposting, 1:1 support and in-school support and workshops.
Fegans – parent and school support, based in Tunbridge Wells. Evidence-based, tailor made support for parents and school staff.
Open for Parents – parents of 0-19 year olds, countywide. Previously Parenting Matters a free service that offers workshops (including the Triple P programme), drop in surgeries, discussion groups, resources and a weekly advice line. Parents and carers can self-refer.
Sussex Community Rail Partnership- Support for children and young people to travel independently by train, particularly those facing additional challenges such as special educational needs or disabilities.
Sussex Prisoners’ Families –Support and advice for children, young people and families who have a relative in prison. Also offers training for professionals on awareness of related issues.
Sussex Recovery College- Offers educational courses about mental health and recovery which are designed to increase knowledge and skills and promote self-management.
YMCA Dialogue – all ages, Eastbourne and Hastings. Offers counselling, advice, mental health support and other wellbeing services to children, young people and families.
YMCA Downslink WISE Project – up to age 25, countywide. 1:1 support and group work for children and young people at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation. The service also provides training to schools, community organisations, police and local authority teams.