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UK research says that 1 in 6 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, i.e. 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.

Key Priorities

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.

Assemblies

The assemblies are based around mental health, wellbeing and resilience. These topics are introduced during the assemblies to help the children and young people gain a better understanding of their own wellbeing and learn how to be mentally healthy.

Workshops

The Mental Health, wellbeing and resilience workshop is designed to expand on the assembly looking in more depth at how to keep yourself mentally healthy. Looking at how the 5 ways to wellbeing; Being active, giving, connecting, learning and being mindful can help with good mental health.

Additional Support Available

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

PSHE Lessons

Following on from this, we can deliver mental health education through PSHE lessons 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

Training Wellbeing Mentors

We also recruit and train Wellbeing Mentors from years 8+ whose role it is to promote emotional wellbeing within the school. They act as a listening ear and signpost students to support. The mentors 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 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 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 email us at: dmyh@dorsetmind.uk.

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