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Supporting Children’s Mental Health Week

About about 3 years ago By Scott Owen

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Last month, Protocol Education supported Children's Mental Health Week, an annual event launched by Place2Be in 2015 to shine a spotlight on the importance of supporting children's emotional wellbeing from an early age. As a business we raised nearly £500 for place2Be.

Protocol Education's Middlesbrough and Newcastle teams promoted Children's Mental Health Week to schools in the North East via their "Express Yourself" competition. The competition tied in with Children's Mental Health Week focus on the different ways people can express themselves. Schools were invited to show us how they and their pupils expressed themselves during the week.

The teams received a huge range of entries. From dressing-up, to writing poetry, painting a picture to dancing. The schools from across the North East certainly knew how to express themselves. The winner of the 2021 "Express yourself" competition came from Mortimer Community College in South Shields. The school won a delicious Hotel Chocolat hamper for organising an amazing 42 individual wellbeing activities for children parents and staff as well as their cluster schools.

Children’s Mental Health and overall wellbeing is something that the school works hard to promote. Lyn Shakespeare, the School Mental Health Lead, explained how at this difficult time she felt "it is vital to be an advocate for both staff and pupils to take time to look after their mental health."

As part of the school’s promotion of Children’s Mental Health Week, the theme of all PSHE lessons and assemblies were around Mental Health. The PE lessons for the week were also tailored to Children’s Mental Health Week, including a number of mindfulness tasks for the pupils to complete. Other activities included yoga, origami, scribbling, drawing, mindfulness meditation and breathing.

Pupils and staff were also given the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of ways such as:

  • A picture they had drawn

  • A song or poem they had written

  • A book review

  • Something they had cooked or baked

  • A design of an outfit they would like to wear

  • A scenic photograph

Joanne Thornton, the school’s Deputy Head Teacher also organised a wellbeing curriculum day off for pupils and staff. She was very aware that both staff and pupils were spending a lot more time in front of a screen, which can have a large impact on people’s overall health and wellbeing. With the help of staff, she organised 42 well-being activities for pupils and staff to choose to take part in.

In total the events across Children's Mental Health Week proved to be hugely successful. Jess Brain the Community Fundraising Manager for Place2Be wrote to say "a huge thank you for taking part in this years’ Children’s Mental Health Week and for raising vital funds to support children’s mental health. It’s now been almost 2 months since the week and we’re thrilled to say we’ve raised over £80,000 in total – we can’t thank you enough for being a part of this. Your incredible fundraising is helping to make a difference right now to the lives of children and young people that we support. From providing counselling and support to children when they need it most, to working with parents who may be struggling, to providing invaluable mental health training to teachers and school staff. This is only possible because of amazing fundraisers like you!"

The Middlesbrough and Newcastle teams cannot wait to support Children's Mental Health Week to schools in 2022.