Student Mental Health & Wellbeing Policy 2020/2021

“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind and spirit.The realisation that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our wellbeing”
  -Greg Anderson

Introduction

The world we live in is complex. Understanding the requirement of wellness and the factors that influence this state, whether as an individual, community or nation, helps us to work together to improve the quality of our lifestyles. Five simple ways to improve our overall wellness are:

Connect – talk and listen to others and always live in the moment.

Be active – do what you can and enjoy what you do.

Take notice – remember the simple things that give you joy.

Keep learning – embrace new experiences and seek new opportunities.

Give – give people your time, your words and your presence.

What does Wellbeing mean??

Well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and ability to manage stress. More generally, well-being is just feeling well.

Forms of wellbeing:

Well-being can be used to describe the different parts of you that make up the whole person and contribute to making you happy overall. These may include:

  • Your physical health
  • Your mental health
  • How you feel
  • How you think
  • Relationships

Objectives

This policy main aims and objectives are:

  • To help students know and understand the importance of living an active lifestyle
  • To help students know and understand how they can take steps to improve their overall mental wellbeing.
  • To give students the skills they need to make the right choices.
  • To give students the opportunity to experience success and the positive benefits of contributing to the school and wider community.
  • To promote the physical and emotional well-being of all our students.
  • To improve the health of students, staff and the whole school community by helping to influence
  • To ensure a safe, hygienic, learning environment for students.
  • To introduce and promote practice within the school to reinforce these aims and to remove or discourage practice that negate them.

Role of Parents and Guardians

  • We work closely with parents to ensure that the messages we give in school are reinforced and supported at home.
  • In addition, we send home communication to parents in regards to any trends in behavior that needs to be
  • addressed or to alert them to dangerous trends occurring on social media, etc.
  • Topics are wide-ranging from sleep, to university
  • guidance, to raising awareness of the importance of volunteering etc.

Our Welfare Team

  • Our team is on hand to provide counseling and intervention. If and when there is a concern about a student, a parent or any member of staff may fill out a Cause for Concern’ form and submit to the School Counselor, who will conduct an initial observation.
  • After which, an observation report will be written up with recommendations for next steps. They are able to work with teachers to address behavioral concerns and write up behavior reports for teachers and students to follow as well as developing action plans for students referred to the Student Behavior Management Committee

WELLBEING TECHNIQUES

 Stop Think Go is a problem solving technique.  There are 3 steps.

  •  STOP– here you ask yourself “how am I feeling?” Happy, scared, angry or sad. How you feel can make a difference to the choice you make?
  • THINK– here ask yourself “what are my options?” – think about all the different choices you can make; some will have good consequences and some will have less good consequences. (consequence means what may happen – if you stroke a cat the consequence may be it purrs, if you give someone a compliment the consequence may be that they smile)
  • GO– once you’ve thought through the positive and negative consequences of each of your options you can make your choice.

STUDENTS

  • Several relevant well-being activities are  planned across the phases to cater to the students emotional and mental health
  • Moral education curriculum- Grades 1-3 asynchronous lessons, Grade 4-8 – 1 period a week, helps  to address value systems and keeps the students morally grounded . Grades 9-12 integrate Moral education in English Lessons.
  • Story time- in KG help students to learn morals and values in an interesting and innovative way
  • Monthly Surveys are conducted in-house. These help us to gauge the students’ well-being and to take corrective measure where necessary.
  • Students are aware about whom to contact in case of contingency.
  • Webinars for Mental Well-Being and strategies to overcome the present discomfort are organised
  • Opportunities to interact with the peers and teachers during class time through Class Assemblies and Circle Time help students to keep engaged and brings a sense of normalcy.
  • Audit of technology skills and devices was done to ensure there is a stress free learning

PARENTS

  • All school policies related to safety and health are shared with the parents
  • PARENTS ARE INFORMED about whom to contact in case they want to share their ward’s WELLBEING concerns
  • Parents Guidelines shared with parents to are the learning management system
  • Parents concerns are noted and redressed on a week to week basis through Weekly Updates
  • Parents surveys have been analysed and actioned to address parental concerns
  • The workload management are shared with the parents to manage and support the children

TEACHERS 

  • The teachers well-being is carefully monitored by heads and all efforts are made to resolve stress triggers
  • Manageable workloads are given keeping present circumstances and home environment in mind
  • Appropriate ongoing training and support is provided
  • Teachers’ weekly survey ascertains the Happiness Meter
  • Sufficient IT support is provided to ensure a stress free professional experience
  • SCHOOL STAFFING AND TEACHERS WELLBEING – There is an available data base of qualified teachers that may be appointed after a virtual interview, if required.
  • Substitute teachers are also available if required to replace regular teachers during unprecedented emergencies.

 Support is always available

All staff will:

  • Treat all people with dignity and respect;
  • Understand their safeguarding duties in relation to students’ mental and
  • physical health and wellbeing, and raise any concerns promptly with the DSL
  • or other members of the safeguarding team;
  • Adhere to this policy and any related policies and procedures.

All students will:

  • Be encouraged to treat themselves and others with dignity and respect;
  • Engage in mental wealth, health and wellbeing curriculum-related topics and
  • activities;
  • Be encouraged to raise any wellbeing concerns with staff;
  • Adhere to this policy and any related policies and procedures.

Who can you turn to if you are not feeling well?

  • Your Parents
  • Your principal (Mr. Sykes) : headteacher@ves.ae
  • Your form tutor
  • Your Head of Year/Head of Section (Ms. Carla and Mr. Matthew)pozza@ves.ae / deputyhead@ves.ae
  • Any teacher with whom you feel you have a relationship of trust
  • Student counselor (Ms. Rayane): rayane@ves

References

  • Department of Education and Skills, Department of Children and Youth Affairs & Department of Health Ireland, Health Services Executive. (2015). Well-Being in Primary Schools; Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion.
  • Department of Education and Skills, Health Services Executive & Department of Health Ireland. (2013). Well-Being in Post Primary Schools; Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention.

Weare, K., & Gray, G. (2003). What Works in Developing Children’s Emotional and Social Competence and Wellbeing? The Health Education Unit, Research and Graduate School of Education University of Southampton; Research Report RR456 / London: Department for Education and Skil