This year, the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week (5 - 11 Feb) is “My Voice Matters”.
Clearly, a dedicated Mental Health Week for children, or perhaps more importantly any extra publicity on what an important topic Children’s Mental Health is resonates strongly with us at Motional - our mission is:
To positively impact all children by helping schools implement a Whole School Approach to Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health.
Discussions around Mental Health have come on leaps and bounds over the last 5+ years, it’s now more of a topic for discussion rather than a taboo, including exposure through all kinds of media outlets and perhaps more subtle influences on how being proactive about our Emotional Wellbeing can lead to being more successful.
For example, Sports psychology, which has been around for many years, is now gaining more attention. We are now in an era where top athletes and teams are focusing on their Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health, from childhood and their first step into professional sport right through to breaking into and sustaining elite professional careers. Mental fitness is now considered as important as physical fitness in creating success.
Success can mean different things to different people, but what truly drives it is being proactive rather than reactive. This is the transformation that mental health needs. While mental health is now being talked about more openly than ever before, it is still struggling to shake off its old image of being solely about poor mental health, problems, and disorders. Therefore, conscious efforts need to be made to adopt proactive approaches towards mental health.
So, how can schools be proactive about hearing the voice of every child?
We strongly encourage schools to use Children’s Mental Health Week as an opportunity to showcase their efforts, empower children to speak up, and educate parents on the significance of Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health. However, if a Whole School Appraoch is not already in place, we urge schools to consider making it a priority. This would involve including the Emotional Wellbeing of both students and staff in all school activities and discussions, thereby promoting a positive learning environment for all.
If you want more info on a 5-step guide click here!
There are 5 Key steps to this approach:
Step 6 is to consider all of the above (steps 1 to 5) and reflect on the children’s voice throughout these.
Research finds that children are more likely to uptake new policies and behaviours when they are introduced to them by their peers, as compared to an adult. So children are more likely to get on board with the wellbeing agenda if they are actively participating in embedding wellbeing approaches in schools .
Start by asking questions like:
- What does a mentally healthy school mean or look like to them?
- What are their experiences of school?
- What helps their Emotional Wellbeing at school and what challenges or issues do they experience?
- What helps them to cope with difficult situations and stressors such as exam stress and bullying?
The Motional platform prioritises the welfare of every child and staff member. Through our Organisational Snapshot and Action Plan Builder , we encourage schools to gather insights and feedback from stakeholders, including the children themselves. We have a dedicated section that emphasises the importance of incorporating student feedback in policies, processes, and development of the school environment in relation to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health.
In our Groupshot and Snapshot tools , children are actively monitored. This includes supporting the development of their voice through Sense of Self, Relationship with Others and Emotional Literacy skills allowing them to confidently state their views and preferences to feel valued, empowered and that their voice really matters in school.
It’s time to get ahead of the game. We need to proactively identify children with the most need for Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health support, rather than waiting for them to show signs of struggling. Our approach, backed by research, evidence, and a team of experienced senior educators and psychologists, involves providing universal support, effective signposting for self-directed support, and targeted resources for those who require it.
At Motional, we offer solutions to help any school achieve this goal.
Find out more about Children’s Mental Health week, including resources for Schools and Families to get involved by visiting https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk
If you’d like to find out more about Motional, please reach out through the pink circle on the bottom right of the website, or Book A Demo and we’ll talk you through the platform and how it can be used in your setting.