What are the steps a school can take to promote mental health among students?
The mental health of children and young people is increasingly seen as a fundamental consideration for schools. This is a step in the right direction for all students but even more so for those living with chronic medical and mental health needs. A place to start is by looking at these resource https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-mental-health-in-schools-and-colleges. Lots of useful research based information on how schools can promote the mental health of students through policy and practice. Additionally, the PSHE association produces guidance and a range of teaching plans and resources for schools. https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/curriculum-and-resources/resources/guidance-preparing-teach-about-mental-health-and
My son has just been diagnosed with severe obsessive disorder. He already has learning difficulties and has a statement of educational needs. On his recent hospital admission where he was seen by CAMHS and the social worker I was advised that we would need a meeting at school to discuss how we progress things forward. In the meantime I have had to do the professionals work for them. I have contacted the school and worked in partnership with the head of year and also the exams officer in order for my son to get the right entitlement for his upcoming GCSE exams. My son also has to make decisions regarding his future this year and I am of the belief that currently he is not in the best place to make these at this time. I recently visited a college for him and although the course is what he wants to do, I am not convinced that this would be the right place for him due to it being big and also would it be safe for him. I am just at my wits end regarding this. He is currently going to school, but with support in the morning and afternoon, with dropping him off and picking him up. I do not have much support at home and certainly no group that I can talk to regarding my frustration in terms of getting things right for my son and his future.
This really is a stressful time for you all and thinking of the future must be particularly difficult as it is hard to predict how things will develop. You have made the first step in liaising with school and this seems to have enabled some things to be put in place for your son, though obviously it is still difficult for you. In relation to college, our suggestion would be to keep options open. If possible, look at a range of schools and colleges your area, contact the SEN or student disability services, this may help you and your son assess where his needs will be best met. As he has an Education Health Care Plan he should be well placed to access any available support. Support for yourself is very important during this stressful time, Young Minds have a parents phone line: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_parents A number of parents we have contact with have found the phone line very helpful. They may also be able to put you in touch with a local support group.
Hello, I need some advice with regards to my daughter who is 11 years old and isn't attending school at the moment. This is due to her depression and anxiety. She also has a diagnosis of ASD. Is there anything I can do for her while she is at home? Art therapy came to mind. Any advice would be most helpful.
I am sorry that your daughter has become anxious about attending school. I note that she is secondary school age and I wonder if this is a new feeling due to the transfer to a larger school. I presume you have had meetings at school and explored the issues surrounding this anxiety, and looking at the areas of pressure. For example is it maths, PE, a particular teacher or friendship group? An individual timetable to assist her returning may help if she is able to have some choice of subjects to begin with. Whilst your daughter is not attending it is essential that you keep to a timetable, for example still getting up washing and getting dressed ready for the day at 8.00 – have some books that you can read together, and take exercise each day. If you have a computer it should be possible to link into the school web site and educational activities. What unfortunately often happens is that the sleep pattern slips and this causes other complications making it more difficult to return to school. Time watching TV or social media should be kept to the end of what would usually be the school day. Good luck!