Mental health and emotional wellbeing (MHEW) are an important part of everyday life, and in some ways, never more so than the present. From September 2020 the Health Education elements of PSHE education became compulsory. The statutory guidance covers physical health, mental health and emotional wellbeing. It recognises that physical health and mental health are interlinked, that good physical health contributes to good mental health, and vice versa.
What is mental health?
Mental health is about our feelings, our thinking, our emotions and our moods. Looking after our mental health is important. We all have small feelings every day: these sometimes feel strong and overwhelming, whether happy or sad, but they go away before too long. Sometimes we experience big feelings: these feel strong and overwhelming for a long time. They stop us doing what we want to in our lives.
Teaching about mental health and emotional wellbeing
MHEW form part of our PSHE curriculum (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education). It promotes pupils’ wellbeing through an understanding of their own and others’ emotions and the development of healthy coping strategies. It also contributes to safeguarding, providing pupils with knowledge, understanding and strategies to keep themselves healthy and safe, as well as equipping them to support others who are facing challenges. Talking openly about mental health issues is an effective means of breaking down any associated stigma. The emphasis on our teaching is to develop pupils’ knowledge, understanding, skills, language and confidence to seek support, as needed, for themselves or others. They should understand when to seek help, what help is available, and the likely outcome of seeking support.
In the early key stages, PSHE education equips pupils to adopt healthy behaviours and strategies, and to seek appropriate and timely support when they or a friend need it, rather than explicitly teaching about mental ill-health. Protective factors (including good communication, problem-solving, healthy coping skills, resilience and the ability to name, describe and understand a range of emotions) can reduce the risk of pupils turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms. These protective factors can also be developed from an early age, laying the foundations for more specific learning later on.
Support for our parent community
“As parents, we all want our children to have the best possible start in life. Encouraging children to understand and be open about their feelings can give them the skills to cope with the ups and downs that life will throw at them as they grow up. It’s important that our children understand that emotions are normal, and that they have the confidence to ask for help if they are struggling.” HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, patron of the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families.
Please click on the available resources and links to access further support and advice about mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Barnet Local Authority support for vulnerable families and those students with additional needs
A helpline has been set up to support vulnerable residents who may be struggling even more than usual during this period of COVID-19.
This helpline will prioritise the following people who live in Barnet:
- people defined on medical grounds are extremely vulnerable from COVID-19
- people who do not have other means of receiving support
The helpline team will review all requests for help and then get in contact. Contact details:
- Email: COVID19support@barnet.gov.uk
- Phone: 0808 281 3210
This phone line is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
Children aged 4-19 can receive 12 weeks FREE therapy. These sessions are on either Mon or Fri after school or Saturday. For a means tested sum of between £32 and £45 they can sign up for up to 2 years of weekly therapy. Play and Art therapy also available.