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UK research says that 1 in 8 young people are in desperate need of help with their mental health, and we know that there are not enough local services available to meet the level of need.

To help address this need, Dorset Mind Your Head has set up  a Mental Health Education Programme for secondary schools. This is a free service aimed at educating and supporting students, staff and parents in school.

We implement a whole school approach, ie a combination of interventions aimed at all members of the school community. The programme focuses on prevention and early intervention, de-stigmatisation of mental illness, promotion of mental health and a general raising of awareness about how to manage and maintain one’s mental health.

Some of our key priorities are;

  • Addressing the whole school environment
  • Strengthening the active involvement of parents
  • Increasing school based help sources which are confidential, empathic, available to all and non stigmatising.

Our programme is structured as follows;
Initial planning phase with school and timetabling interventions
Initial meet and greet with practitioners, staff and students

We then deliver an assembly to each year group.

The assembly; 

  • Explores what is meant by mental health, wellbeing and resilience.
  • Helps students to understand that a healthy mind and emotions are beneficial for everyone.
  • Increases understanding of common mental health problems and where to turn to for support.
  • Explores how to stay mentally healthy and gives tips on how to keep your mind well.

The assembly is available to download here

In the light of the Covid19 crisis we have recorded a voiceover for  our Mental Health Awareness assembly to enable you to use it directly with students should you wish.

Click here to view and download the Mental Health Awareness assembly with voiceover 

Alongside the assemblies, a raft of posters can be displayed widely around the school to form part of a visual campaign whose purpose is;

  • To normalise conversations about mental health.
  • To raise awareness of support available.
  • To educate about common mental health concerns and what to do about them.

Following on from this, we can deliver mental health education through PSHE lessons for year groups and a targeted series of 6 wellbeing workshops for students who would benefit from extra support but are not already accessing it.

Our PSHE lessons are based on the ‘7 c’s of resilience’ and cover;

  1. Coping – Mental Health Awareness
  2. Character – Emotional Awareness
  3. Control – Emotional Intelligence
  4. Competence – Positive psychology & playing to your strengths
  5. Confidence – Self esteem
  6. Connection – Helpful listening and reaching out to others
  7. Contribution – Peer support

If you want to use these lessons in your classroom, they are available to download here

Our series of 6 wellbeing workshops cover;

Session 1 – Creating your mental health toolkit
Session 2 – Recognising and naming emotions
Session 3 – Thoughts, feelings and behaviour
Session 4 – Self esteem and core beliefs
Session 5 – Coping strategies and self care
Session 6 – Handling relationships

These are available in blocks of six sessions for up to 12 students.

We can also recruit and train Wellbeing Mentors from years 9+ whose role it is to promote emotional wellbeing within the school, act as a listening ear and signpost students to support. The mentors will receive four 1 hr training sessions created by the Anna Freud centre and can benefit from follow up meetings with Dorset Mind. Once training has been provided, it is the school’s responsibility to implement the programme accordingly.

‘During our Dorset Mind Mentor training at The Grange School, we learnt a variety of ways to help our peers. We started off with active listening, learning how to help others feel more welcome and to talk to you. After this, we talked of body language, and how open body language can give a more kind and caring feel. After, we learnt about what type of questions we should use and how, open questions are very much advised. Our trainer did an excellent job at helping us to understand the act of helping someone else, and we can now proceed to putting these skills into action. We have started up a new lunch system, where trained mentors can now help any student during lunches, with a well structured rota. This will make a very positive impact on our school. We are all very thankful for this opportunity and the help it’ll allow us to provide.’
-Skye and Leilani

Monitoring and evaluating our progress 

We measure the mental wellbeing of students within the school at various points within the project. This is for 3 key purposes;

Snapshot: to provide a survey snapshot of student mental wellbeing to inform planning

Identification: to identify individual students who might benefit from early support to facilitate swifter access to the right specialist support

Evaluation: to consider the impact of early support and targeted interventions

We will do this via carefully considered surveys and workshops which will be quick, easy and non-intrusive. We will maintain confidentiality at all times.

If you are interested in running our Education in Mind Programme in your school, please contact dmyh@dorsetmind.uk.

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