Main image: The Unicorn School
IET marks a full day of activity highlighting the important mental health and wellbeing work that is taking place within the independent school sector.
From the use of brand ambassadors and artwork challenges to support the charity Young Minds’ #HelloYellow campaign, whole-school approaches that involve staff, children as well as parents, through to evidence-based programmes that lead to positive mental health impacts, the sector clearly shows how it places mental health and wellbeing on a par with physical health.
Articles include how schools take a structured approach to wellbeing and personal development, including realistic and pragmatic strategies to cope with life’s challenges.
Wellbeing is incorporated into nursery schools with fun activities aimed at promoting the positive wellbeing of children, staff and parents within a nurturing environment.
Dedicated wellbeing hubs and wellbeing centres provide safe spaces for support groups and drop-in sessions run by wellbeing ambassadors. Staff training underpins many programmes, as does working with specialists in sleep, diet, exercise and positive psychology. Specific systems have been developed to guide young men, helping them to mature into healthy, well-rounded adults.
Involving students in wellbeing committees, championing self-care and developing individual wellbeing strategies are all components being developed and implemented.
The focus is often on developing character and encouraging pupils to recognise themselves as ‘individuals, as friends, as learners, and as achievers’.
Sport and exercise are proven to improve mood and mental health. Youth Sport Trust shows how its Active in Mind programme helps to harness the strategies of physical activity and lifestyle behaviours to help young people improve mood, reduce anxiety, and regulate emotions.
Mental health as a global priority is the theme for this year’s campaign, run by the Mental Health Foundation. Wellbeing schemes which are rooted in Australia and the US feature in the articles included in our IET campaign. These show how positive education programmes help to promote wellbeing from the outset and encourage empathy, understanding and emotional intelligence.
IET has the support of the Independent Schools Association and Independent Schools Council to run this campaign and hopes to build on the enthusiasm and commitment of the sector with future wellbeing campaigns.
The full list of articles published for World Mental Health Day 2022 include:
Youth Sports Trust: Can we stem the mental health tide during a cost-of-living crisis?
York House School: Using voice to manage emotions
Windlesham House School: Why parent wellbeing should be on every school agenda
Heathfield School: Does mental health have a vaccine?