Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing
According to the children’s commissioner there are 800,000 children living with mental health disorders – that’s equivalent to at least three children in every classroom.
Demand for mental health support has reached unprecedented levels, and yet three in four children with a diagnosable mental health condition still do not receive the support they need.
A quarter of children referred to CAMHS are turned away by underfunded and overstretched services.
Teachers are being left without necessary support and added additional pressure to their demanding work load.
So what are we doing at Cheadle Primary School......
We have employed a Family Support Worker called Julie Lawton, she is qualified in juvenile and adolescent counselling, psychology, many holistic therapies and is constantly adding to her skills to give our children and their families a wealth of support and guidance in our hub that is ‘The Treehouse’.
Our children are thriving and becoming more resilient with mental health and wellbeing input so far, parents are getting extra support with concerns they have for their children for things such as not sleeping to witnessing domestic violence.
Our small proactive groups allow us to be above the current mental health’s figure of 70% reactive and 30% proactive by looking at barriers to learning, of how our children perform and behave in school as well as local issues they may witness or live with that we are unaware of.
Julie’s latest accreditation is with the Hope project, a scheme that develops ‘mental health champions’ and provides ongoing professional support and development. Julie completed a 4 day training course covering amongst other things – mental health awareness, self-harm, anxiety, anger management and tools to monitor and support children’s mental health and wellbeing.
This allows our children access to mental health support not only as and when it is needed, but also through proactive interventions that have been identified by staff in school and through barriers to learning.
The needs of our children are paramount and currently Julie sees about twelve children on a 1:1 basis weekly who need extra support for a range of concerns from self-harm to severe anxiety. Julie has also set up three small proactive groups covering anger, anxiety and confidence, these will run for six weeks this term and change each half term as the needs of our children are identified.
Developing the treehouse as a hub for support is growing, as both children and families access the extra support we offer. This is available at lunchtime and every afternoon, although some children need support at other times in the mornings we try to accommodate this need and look to the future of possibly a full time role to fulfil the needs of our school.
Here is our treehouse; it has hide-a-ways, quiet spaces to feel safe, bean bags to be less formal and tables for activities.