‘YoungMinds’ define mental health as having ‘the strength and capacity of our minds to grow and develop and to be able to overcome difficulties and challenges and to make the most of our abilities and opportunities’ (YoungMinds2010).
It reports that 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder - that is around three children in every class. There are many misconceptions about mental health and we are working with the pupils to challenge those misconceptions and make sure that they know that there is always someone to talk to and to help them. We think of the pupils who are suffering as young people living with a certain condition, rather than ‘being the condition’. For example, a child is not depressed; they are living with depression and can therefore hopefully manage that relationship instead of it being allowed to consume them.
At Immanuel, we recognise that children who suffer from these conditions can feel confused and isolated, which in turn can lead to profound feelings of despair. One of the biggest causes of this despair and reported reasons given for self-harm by adolescents is schoolwork. This is something that every pupil, in every school has to cope with and it is essential that schools recognise its potential for anxiety and works hard to make their pupils feel resilient, self-confident and supported to enable them to navigate successfully their journey through adolescence. We ensure that all our pupils are fully familiar with the ActionforHappiness GREAT DREAM acronym and these 10 keys for happier living permeate our whole ethos.
We have policies to deal with a range of mental health conditions, which are accessible to parents on the parental intranet. We discuss these with pupils in PSHEE lessons and pastoral time.