By Mrs L Page, Head of Wellbeing
With the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, many of us involved in the care of children - as professionals and parents - are considering the long-term impact that COVID-19 might have on our children’s emotional and mental wellbeing, and how we can best support them.
As we begin to fully comprehend the extent to which the pandemic has changed, perhaps permanently, the way we live and interact with those around us, it feels particularly important that we do all we can to develop, enhance and positively support the mental health of our children as they come to terms with, and learn to negotiate the ‘new normal’. Since the return to school after the recent lockdowns, the Felsted Wellbeing Team has noticed a marked increase in levels of anxiety within most (if not all) year groups, especially those facing the uncertainty of revised exam arrangements, heightened feelings of social isolation, and in some, a general sense of helplessness as the world around them continues to change. We have also seen many pupils struggling to re-establish friendships potentially weakened by months apart from their peers. The school as a whole has been working hard to help pupils regain and strengthen their confidence in both their academic abilities and achievements, as well as their social skills and connections.
At Felsted we believe that good mental health and emotional wellbeing is pivotal for a pupil’s ability to grow academically and socially, and to achieve their full potential. We understand that just as issues that affect our physical wellbeing can limit and restrict how effectively we engage with the world around us, issues that affect our emotional wellbeing can also hold us back from living full, successful, and rewarding lives.
This belief is central to Felsted’s approach to the promotion of good mental health within our community and is why our Wellbeing Centre is situated at the heart of the school campus, providing a calm, relaxing environment for all Felsted pupils. Here, pupils can receive a range of therapeutic interventions, including play and creative therapies, psychodynamic counselling sessions on a weekly or ad hoc basis, or just take a breather in a quiet space to ‘recharge their emotional batteries’. According to the individual needs of the pupil, our team of three experienced counsellors and psychotherapists offer the most effective support for whatever challenges our young people may be facing.
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