Promoting mental health & wellbeing in Education
We arrive without an agenda. We work 1:1 and in groups in order to affirm the inherent expertise amongst school staff and to work out how best to respond to the unique needs of the school. We try not to ‘fix’ things or provide solutions. Here are some of the ways we are working within Bristol schools.
Reflective groups provide a regular, confidential, safe space for sharing and support. These groups do not have a distinct agenda but are responsive to the needs of those present. So what happens depends on the interactions between participants and the relationships created. These groups are non-judgemental spaces that allow time to pause and reflect. They allow the awareness of feelings, thoughts and whatever is ‘held’ to emerge. They are a way of creatively exploring issues together rather than imposing solutions.
Groups may be made up of teaching staff and/or students or their parents. Staff may include department or year heads, assistant or deputy head teachers, pastoral staff and counsellors.
We run workshops for school staff to address issues currently arising in pupils. Examples of such issues include anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideas. These are non-judgemental, exploratory sessions that use the expertise and experiences of the group – both staff and facilitators – to further our understanding and responses. We often hold complex and contradictory feelings about such issues and these sessions aim to provide a safe, respectful and confidential space for these to be discussed and shared.
This provides an opportunity for any member of staff to have an opportunity to work confidentially with a member of our team to explore challenges and fulfilment to and in their work.
We are developing short assembly conversations for students to help them explore what mental health is and how we can help each other when we are in difficulty without becoming over focused on medicalising day-to-day stress.
We offer sessions with parents. These include conversations about aspects of mental health in young people and the option of a limited number of on-going facilitated discussions.