5th February 21
This week we recognised annual Children’s Mental Health Week with a number of activities. We used the week to reflect on the current pandemic highlighting some of the key aspects supporting the students own mental health. Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, produced an annual report last week highlighting the prolonged impact the COVID crisis was having on children’s mental health. She wrote ‘Since the NHS study in July 2020 estimating one in six children in England have a probable mental health condition, we have had another long lockdown. Sadly, this will be causing even more damage to many children’s mental wellbeing and putting even greater strains on mental health services, potentially for years to come.’ To read more click here.
Monday’s assembly featured a Student Council led discussion on mental health to start the awareness raising week, together with our Head of Wellbeing Mark Johnson and our College Counsellor, Emily Elliott. This kick started a number of activities including online workout and yoga sessions. Today we celebrate ‘Feel Good Friday’ which focuses on a ‘happiness hour’ when you can identify what makes you happy and then spend the hour from 5-6 pm doing that activity such as walking, running and family time. We ask everyone to get involved students, staff, parents and guardians. If you do get time, please do send us a photo of you enjoying you happiness hour to firstname.lastname@example.org – enjoy!
Our School Counsellor shared some tips with the school community on Monday to take care of your mental health at this time. This included:
1. Start your day well – create a happy morning by getting outside, cranking up happy music, getting physical and taking some fresh air
2. Plan and prioritise your day – have an intention for the day – check out lifehack.org. Develop a routine – this is key for overcoming fatigue – plan when you will study and schedule in rest and entertainment. If you are in a small space – create zones – bed is for entertainment – desk for study. Getting outside creates some mental and physical space so whatever the weather get outside regularly.
3. Focus on the positives (reduce the negative newsfeed). Check out this instead : https://www.positive.news/society/positive-news-stories-from-week-1-of-2021/
4. Get creative – this is a unique moment to share your experiences, struggles and tips – join our listening project and have a chat with a friend in our podcast. Email or message: Emily.Elliott@dld.org or Mark.Johnson@dld.org
5. Stay connected – keep in touch with friends – I have noticed withdrawal is big under the pandemic and we socially withdraw when fed up with everything but get creative with your connections and push yourself out of the withdrawal.
6. No screens for 2 hours before bed – our poor brains are exhausted with the overstimulation
7. Remember that with all the uncertainty and confusion – this will pass and will become a memory. Check out itgetsbrighter.org and the happy broadcast on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_happy_broadcast/?hl=en
8. If you are struggling – get in touch with your teachers and staff members – they want to help you and support you.
You can also contact the DLD counselling service. We have spaces and an excellent team are available. We are confidential and non-judgmental, we are part of DLD College, but we are independent. We listen and support you to sort out whatever is going on. Common issues are relationships, addictions, obsessions, low mood, overthinking, fears, loneliness – that list is not exhaustive!
Good advice for us all!
Thomas Hadcroft, Senior Vice-Principal (Pastoral)