MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING POLICY

Reviewed: October 2018 To be reviewed every 2 years. Next review date: October 2020

“There is a time for everything … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

VISION

In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus teaches us to ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’.  It is from this that we get our key Christian values of Respect, Responsibility, Care and Courage.  These provide a stable and caring environment where we are 'preparing each child for their future in an ever- changing world'.

Following the example of the Good Samaritan we are an inclusive school, serving equally those of all faiths or none through the provision of an education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice.

AIM

In our school, our Christian vision shapes all we do and we aim to promote positive mental health for every member of our school community; our hard working staff, our wonderful children, their parents and carers and of course our governors. We pursue this aim using a universal whole school approach of the 5 keys to well being (Inside Out Project) along with mindfulness, Zones of Regulation, yoga and CORAM SCARF (PSHEE).  We will also use specialised approaches such as Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) or our Home School Link Worker.  We also use, where necessary, personal targeted approaches and these will be based on professional recommendations aimed at vulnerable pupils.  As a school we recognise parents need to be informed and that they may need to be supported too.  Where this happens the school will aim to provide support or if not signpost/arrange for other agencies to become involved.

In addition to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing, we aim to recognise and respond to needs as they arise.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.   (World Health Organization)

Scope

This document describes the school’s approach to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. This policy is intended as guidance for all staff including non-teaching staff and governors.

Staff should use the health and wellbeing scheme of work developed for our school’s needs.

This policy should be read in conjunction with our medical policy in cases where a pupil’s mental health and wellbeing overlaps with, or is linked to, a medical issue and the SEND policy where a pupil has an identified special educational need.

The policy aims to:

Lead Members of Staff

Whilst all staff have a responsibility to promote the mental health of pupils. Staff with a specific, relevant remit include:

Headteacher - Designated Child Protection / Safeguarding Officer

Nicky Dobson - Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead

Jo Hudson - Medical Policy and SEN coordinator

Any member of staff who is concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of a pupil, member of staff or parent/ carer should speak to the Headteacher in the first instance and record the concern on CPOMS. If there is a fear that the pupil or parent/ carer is in danger of immediate harm then the normal child protection procedures should be followed with an immediate referral to the Designated Safeguard Lead. If there is a fear that a member of staff is in danger of immediate harm then ring the Safeguarding team for advice. If the pupil or member of staff presents a medical emergency then the normal procedures for medical emergencies should be followed, including alerting the first aid staff and contacting the emergency services if necessary.

Where a referral to CAMHS is appropriate, this will be led and managed by the SENCO.

 

Individual Medical Plans

It is helpful to draw up an individual care plan for pupils causing concern or who receives a diagnosis pertaining to their mental health. This should be drawn up involving the pupil, the parents and relevant health professionals. This can include:

Teaching about Mental Health and Wellbeing

The skills, knowledge and understanding needed by our pupils to keep themselves and others physically and mentally healthy and safe are included as part of our health and wellbeing scheme of work.

We use the following tools:

The specific content of lessons will be determined by the specific needs of the cohort we are teaching but there will always be an emphasis on enabling pupils to develop the skills, knowledge, understanding, language and confidence to seek help, as needed, for themselves or others.

We will follow the PSHEE Association Guidance[1]to ensure that we teach mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in a safe and sensitive manner which helps rather than harms.

Signposting

When and where necessary we will ensure that staff, pupils and parents are aware of sources of support within school and in the local community. We also provide workshops based at school e.g. esafety, anxiety workshop.

Warning Signs

School staff may become aware of warning signs which indicate a pupil / adult is experiencing mental health or emotional wellbeing issues. These warning signs should always be taken seriously and staff observing any of these warning signs should communicate their concerns with the headteacher or our Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Lead.

Possible warning signs include:

Managing disclosures (see Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy)

A pupil may choose to disclose concerns about themselves or a friend to any member of staff so all staff need to know how to respond appropriately to a disclosure.

If a pupil chooses to disclose concerns about their own mental health or that of a friend to a member of staff, the member of staff’s response should always be calm, supportive and non-judgemental.

Staff should listen, rather than advise and our first thoughts should be of the pupil’s emotional and physical safety rather than of exploring ‘Why?’ For more information about how to handle any disclosures sensitively please see the Child Protection Policy.

All disclosures should be recorded either written or on CPOMS and held on the pupil’s confidential file. This written record should include:

This information should be shared with the mental health lead or headteacher who will store the record appropriately and offer support and advice about next steps.

Confidentiality

We should be honest with regards to the issue of confidentiality. If it is necessary for us to pass our concerns about a pupil on then we should discuss with the pupil:

We should never share information about a pupil without first telling them. Ideally, we would receive their consent, though there are certain situations when information must always be shared with another member of staff and / or a parent and this is if a pupil is in danger of harm.

You must share disclosures immediately with either the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Leader or the Headteacher, this helps to safeguard our own emotional wellbeing and it ensures continuity of care in our absence and it provides an extra source of ideas and support.

Parents should be informed if there are concerns about their child’s mental health and wellbeing we should always give pupils the option of us informing parents for them or with them.

If a child gives us reason to believe that there may be underlying child protection issues, parents should not be informed and the Designated Safeguard Lead must be informed immediately.

Working with Parents

Where it is deemed appropriate to inform parents, we need to be sensitive in our approach. Before disclosing to parents we should consider the following questions (on a case by case basis):

It can be shocking and upsetting for parents to learn of their child’s issues and many may respond with anger, fear or upset during the first conversation. We should be accepting of this (within reason) and give the parent time to reflect.

We should always highlight further sources of information and give them leaflets to take away where possible as they will often find it hard to take much in whilst coming to terms with the news that you’re sharing. Sharing sources of further support aimed specifically at parents can also be helpful too e.g. parent helplines and forums.

We should always provide clear means of contacting us with further questions and consider booking in a follow up meeting or phone call right away as parents often have many questions as they process the information. Finish each meeting with agreed next step and always keep a brief record of the meeting on the child’s confidential record.

Working with All Parents

Parents are often very welcoming of support and information from the school about supporting their children’s emotional and mental health. In order to support parents we will:


Supporting Peers

When a pupil is suffering from mental health issues, it can be a difficult time for their friends. Friends often want to support but do not know how. In the case of self-harm or eating disorders, it is possible that friends may learn unhealthy coping mechanisms from each other. In order to keep peers safe, we will consider on a case by case basis which friends may need additional support. Support will be provided either in one to one or group settings and will be guided by conversations by the pupil who is suffering and their parents with whom we will discuss:


Additionally, we will want to highlight with peers:

Training

All staff will receive regular training about recognising and responding to mental health issues as part of their regular child protection training in order to enable them to keep pupils safe.

The MindEd learning portal provides free online training and will be used for staff wishing to know more about a specific issue.

Training opportunities for staff who require more in-depth knowledge will be considered as part of our appraisal process and additional CPD will be supported throughout the year where it becomes appropriate due developing situations with one or more pupils.

Where the need to do so becomes evident, we will host twilight training sessions for all staff to promote learning or understanding about specific issues related to mental health.

Suggestions for individual, group or whole school CPD should be discussed with our Mental Health Champion who can highlight sources of relevant training and support for individuals as needed.


[1] Teacher Guidance: Preparing to teach about mental health and emotional wellbeing URL= https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/curriculum-and-resources/resources/guidance-preparing-teach-about-mental-health-and (accessed 02.02.2018)