About the event
This week is organised by Place2Be a children’s mental health charity in the UK that works primarily in schools. First held in 2015, it is a week intended to raise awareness about children’s mental health issues both for children themselves and those responsible for their care. Place2Be offers a host of free resources you can use to get involved, check them out here.
How to approach it
This is a great opportunity to introduce and reinforce student’s knowledge of what ‘mental health’ is and what good or bad mental health looks like. For younger key stages start by encouraging students to list emotions - which ones are pleasant and which ones are not? Suggest to students that a bad mental health is when we feel unpleasant for a significant portion of the time and better mental health is the opposite. Older key stages will almost certainly have heard of mental health, discuss together what the term means to them and to you. Next, ask students to think about ways in which we might be able to tell if others have good mental health or bad mental health. Ask them, how can we help ourselves to have good mental health, how can we help others?
Additionally, you could introduce the concept of mental health support and how institutions, communities and countries might go about improving the mental health of populations. As part of this you could review what mental health infrastructure is already in place. This is useful for signposting students to potential support should they need it. Start by the services available in school then move on to NHS services and charities such as Mind or the Good Samaritans. Next, engage your students in a discussion about the future of mental health services. Ask them: how could we run our institutions and systems to better improve people's mental health and access to care? What would an improved school system or business model or public services look like? How could we improve the general mental health of the world’s population? Show students that if we took mental health into account more often we might be more inclined to design kinder, fairer systems.
Looking after our mental health is as important as looking after our physical health. Can you think of any connections between food and mental health? What are some other ways you can look after your mental health?