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Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being

Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing

At St Leonard's Lower School, we believe in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to flourish and thrive. Our school ethos and values underpin everything that we do.


Who has mental health?

We all have mental health – some people call this emotional health or wellbeing.


What is mental health?

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual achieves their potential, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.  Good mental health and wellbeing is just as important as good physical health. Like physical health, mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy to unwell; it can fluctuate on a daily basis and change over time.  Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. It is thought that this is probably because of changes in the way that we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.


What helps?

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:

  • being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
  • being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
  • going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
  • taking part in local activities for young people.

 Other factors are also important, including:

  • feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
  • being hopeful and optimistic
  • being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
  • accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
  • having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
  • feeling they have some control over their own life
  • having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.


How we support at school

In school, we teach children about what it means to have good mental health and wellbeing throughout our curriculum and daily practice.  Our PSHE curriculum focuses specifically on developing children’s social and emotional skills which can prevent poor mental health from developing and help all children cope effectively with setbacks and remain healthy.


Looking after yourself  

If things are getting you down, it’s important to recognise this. Talk to someone you trust and see what they think. It is easy to go on struggling with very difficult situations because you feel that you should be able to cope and don’t deserve any help.  Come and talk to us, in confidence and let us know when things are tough. As much as you try to hide how you are feeling from your child, they will notice even the smallest changes.  Go to your GP if things are really getting on top of you. Asking for some support from your doctor or a referral to a counselling service is a sign of strength. You can’t help your child if you are not being supported yourself.

What if my child is experiencing difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing?

Mental health doesn’t mean being happy all the time and neither does it mean avoiding stresses altogether. One of the most important ways to help your child is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously.  In many instances, children and young people’s negative feelings and worries usually pass with the support of their parents and families. It is helpful for the school to know what they are going through at these times, so that staff can be aware of the need and support this.

Coping and adjusting to setbacks are critical life skills for children, just as they are for adults, but it is important that they develop positive, rather than negative, coping skills.  If you are ever worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing then, just as you would about any concerns that you have about their learning, you can talk to their teacher or another adult at school. Sometimes children will need additional support for a short period – this may be in the form of a daily check-in with a trusted adult, time to talk through what they are feeling and support in developing ways of moving forwards with this.

If your child is distressed for a long time, if their negative feelings are stopping them from getting on with their lives, if their distress is disrupting family life or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways you would not expect at their age, then please speak to your child's teacher.



Please do speak to your child's class teacher or Mrs Bowley if you are concerned about your child. 


We have a wide range of resources and can offer interventions to support emotional well-being.


Mrs Joanne Newens is our trained Emotional Literacy Support Assistant and runs emotional literacy support interventions in school on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Please see the leaflet below to find out more about her role. 

We work with other schools in our local learning community (LC2). We can refer to the LC2 family and child support worker and/or counsellor. 


Click here to see the facebook page

We also work with the Bedfordshire CAMHS Mental Health Support Team who are offering further direct support to schools. Our CAMHS practitioners visit school at least termly to offer help and advice. 


Find out more via the leaflets below. 

We use the Early Help Assessment Process to help to support children and families who are in need of support. You can find out more here:




Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit are our school rabbits. 


They teach the children about responsibility and care for pets and animals. They also support our pupil's emotional and mental wellbeing. The children take turns to look after them and to pet them. 


We have a duty of care to our rabbits, just as we do with our children. They are very happy and well looked after bunnies who have a healthy diet, lots of space to live and run around in and regular veterinary care. Their home is in a quiet area of our school garden.






Anxiety Resources

‘Huge Bag of Worries’ by Virginia Ironside

‘Helping your child with Fears and Worries 2nd Edition: A self help guide for parents’ by Cathy Creswell and Lucy Willetts

‘Starving the Anxiety Gremlin’ by Kate Collins-Donnelly

‘What to do when you worry too much’ by Dawn Huebner

When my worries get too big - by Kari Dunn Buron

Don't worry be happy by Poppy O'Neill



Managing Stress - BBC - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnpQrMqDoqE

Fight, Flight Freeze Response - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEHwB1PG_-Q

CALM Technique by Jennifer Kolari - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q28IrZq14hk

Anxiety Canada - https://www.anxietycanada.com/

Therapist Aid - https://www.therapistaid.com/

Young Minds - https://youngminds.org.uk/resources/

Anna Freud Self Care Materials - https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/



‘Starving the Anger Gremlin’ by Kate Collins-Donnelly

Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions? - https://www.youtube.com/watchv=3bKuoH8CkFc&feature=youtu.be

‘The Incredible Years’ by Carolyn Webster-Stratton

Upside of Anger TED Talk with Dr Ryan Martin - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfcQaXG_Qhs​​​​​​​

Private Therapists

If you have any recommendations from local private therapists please do let the school know so that we can add to this page. 


Tips on staying well

  • Preparing for winter: MIND has some useful tips on how to adapt your routine.
  • Connect with others: Stay connected via email, social media, video calling and telephone. If you haven’t got  anyone to talk to or you are struggling, you can call emotional support lines like the NHS volunteer service who provide a ‘check in and chat’ service call 0808 196 3646 or one of the helplines below.
  • Be active: Our physical health affects how we feel. Visit www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise for information and advice.
  • Take notice and focus on the present: Find out more about being mindful on the NHS website.
  • Stick to the facts and limit your news intake. Do not stay glued to the news. And when you do check, use trustworthy sources such as GOV.UK or NHS.
  • Have a routine. Wake up and go to bed at healthy times, get enough sleep. Include time to relax. For tips on sleep visit Every Mind Matters.
  • Do something you enjoy and keep your mind active. Find something of value in your day and do something for yourself (watch a favourite programme, do crosswords, art and crafts, cooking, gardening, reading a book)
  • Work and finance, You might be worried about money, have lost your job or are concerned you might become unemployed – these issues can have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Visit the Every Mind Matters website for tips and advice on coping with money worries and job uncertainty during COVID-19.
  • Looking after a child or young person. The past few months have been hard on everyone, including our kids. Find tips on supporting children or young people at Every Mind Matters. 

If you need to speak to someone, you can text or call:

Accessing local support when you're struggling


Domestic abuse: if you’re feeling unsafe, support is available

Mrs Sarah Bowley is a trained Domestic Abuse responder. You can talk to her if you need to..

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. You can also visit the Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership website for more information about local and national support for all affected by domestic abuse, including men, children and young people, older people and people from the LGBT+ community. If you’re in immediate danger, always dial 999.