Mental Health & Wellbeing
At St. Damian’s, the wellbeing of our pupils is a driving force for creating a safe and supportive environment, where good mental and physical health is of utmost importance. We firmly believe that being physically and mentally healthy boosts pupils’ resilience, self-esteem and confidence, helps them to engage positively in their education and allows pupils to excel in all that they do. The following are some examples of St Damian’s taking a pro-active approach to well-being.
Student Support Officers and external agencies
St. Damian’s has two full-time Student Support Officers who run an appointment system for pupils to come and discuss their mental health and wellbeing. During these sessions pupils are given advice and strategies to help them cope with the demands of starting secondary school, becoming a teenager, dealing with the pressures of social media, studying for GCSEs and coping with the challenges of modern society. We also have a dedicated TOGMind counsellor in school once a week who is highly skilled and trained to deal with more complex issues, as well as a school nurse and a health mentor.
Pupils have a dedicated page in their planners which signposts them to external agencies that can offer support outside school hours. To further promote mental health and wellbeing, St. Damian’s runs campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of mental health, ensure that pupils can advice and strategies to help them stay fit and healthy. Positive mental health means that pupils can feel, express and manage positive and negative emotions, form and maintain good relationships with others, cope with and manage change, setbacks and uncertainty and ultimately despite all of this, continue to develop and thrive.
Participation in National Initiatives
St Damian’s runs regular social media campaigns such as ‘Children’s Mental Health Week’ and ‘Safer Internet Day’ to raise awareness and to allow pupils and parents access to wellbeing materials and events. We also use social media to direct parents and carers to support in the local community. This type of support and guidance is also shared in the Headteacher’s newsletters.
Our PSHE Curriculum including ASPIRE days
Mental health and wellbeing are a key thread running through the PSHE and RSE curriculum, sharing information at an age-appropriate level. Teachers are trained to identify signs of possible mental health and each member of staff takes responsibility to follow up any concerns according to school policy. Plays, theatre productions, live music and speakers on ASPIRE Days raise awareness and present wellbeing topics as conversation pieces.
We acknowledge that mental health can change on a daily basis and over time and can be affected by a range of factors. The Ambrose Suite is a place of hope, care, love and nurture and is available to pupils who are worried about their wellbeing or mental health. The Ambrose manager will immediately prioritise their needs and ensure that the correct care is provided.