The Importance of Mental Health

School News May 19, 2021
The Importance of Mental Health

It is safe to say that last year, the whole world turned upside down and our lives did along with it. I know that the staff have been truly amazed at the resilience of our children as they took their long lockdown in their stride and dealt with is far more maturely and easily than many adults! However, regardless of how one reacts to a pandemic and its difficulties, it is still so important that we learn to talk about our feelings and work through our emotions. In Turtle class, the topic of mental health has arisen from our Art lessons. We have been learning about Van Gogh who, despite his beautiful and hopeful paintings, led a very sad and troubled life. As we learnt more about him, the class were interested in why he had such a troubled life and what ‘poor mental health’ meant. At such a young age it is hard to understand why someone could be so sad to a point of madness and through their interest I felt it was important to address this in a child friendly and appropriate manner.

I think it is possible that since the pandemic , even without knowing, every one of us has experienced a mental health issue, possibly anxiety, frustration, sadness or similar. Knowing we are not alone in these feelings can be  so empowering and healing. Whilst we are beginning to discuss mental health more, it still has a long way to go to becoming something that is not met with such stigma and fear. As a result of the children’s interest and some tensions creeping into the class (this always happens when we are tired at the end of a busy year) we decided it was important we had an outlet to share our feelings through.

We have introduced our ‘Worry box’. The box has been decorated beautifully (in a Van Gogh style!) by some of the girls in the class and placed at the front of the class so it can be used whenever they need it. The children were told that they can write down any feelings or worries they might want to discuss and we will open the box on Monday and try to fix these problems together. The children have been told they can share their name or write anonymously. In addition to this, they can also give a compliment. Giving compliments can make everyone happy, those giving and receiving, and you never know what someone is feeling so we always try to make the choice to be kind.

The class has taken a mature approach to the Worry box and I feel it will develop a kind, caring class environment that will take us through to a happy end of the year! Great work Turtles!