Mental Health in Fulston Manor School
Having a conversation about our mental health is a normal and useful thing to do. It is estimated by the charity Mind that around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem during the course of a year, and for 1 in 6 people they experience a common mental health problem in any given week. It is also important to recognise that we are a community of teachers, students and support staff, and a strong community is one that communicates well with one another. This page is designed to help you begin to explore available support, and to help structure conversations with teachers or peers.
One of the first things to recognise is that even if you are feeling overwhelmed by your workload or by personal issues, there are plenty of times that you will have demonstrated resilience and coped with adverse situations. Reminding yourself and rewarding yourself for your own resilience is one way to manage the regular ups and downs of your life. You have shown that you can cope in a range of situations, and in fact you can be your own best helper at the first stage. Have a read through the following article on resilience training for students:
Understanding Mental Health and Finding Help
If you believe that your own mental health needs have gone beyond self-management, reading self-help and so on, you can seek some more specialist advice through https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/ or via the ‘Booklets for young people’ or ‘Useful contacts’ sections at https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/children-and-young-people/
Understanding mental health also means understanding when something has gone beyond a normal or typical experience. As an example, understanding anxiety is something most people can relate to. It is important to realise that anxiety is a normal physiological response to certain situations – a looming deadline or an overdue piece of work, an upcoming exam or driving test for example.
In some situations this can even be helpful, getting you to focus and work hard. However, an anxiety disorder is when you get anxious for a wide variety of reasons that are not typical for other people, or your stress-response becomes overwhelming (hyperventilating, crying, scratching yourself etc.). It is if you recognise elements from these more serious types of signs that you should look to find further help.
Approaching your teachers, peers or parents
Whilst a common trait with mental health issues is to bury or hide it inside, it is much healthier to have a conversation with a peer, friend, parent or a teacher. The hardest part is getting the conversation started.
You will frequently find that the response of the other person will remind you that there are those who care about and are interested in you, and will help you to see your way to managing the issues more clearly.
It can help to start with some more general terms such as:
“I’ve been having a bit of difficulty with…”
“I’m feeling quite low”.
It may be useful to specify you would benefit from 5 minutes to have a quiet chat, when they are likely not to be distracted by other people or in a busy place. Once this is out in the open the conversation will become a two-way street and you will find it progresses more easily. Some useful resources and guidance on how to talk about mental health can be found at https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/talk-about-mental-health/telling-someone-about-your-mental-health-problem
Normalise the conversation
Remember that the more we talk about Mental Health in general and the more familiar we all become with the issues, the easier those conversations will be. Normalising discussion of mental health rather than treating it as taboo, or embarrassing, is of benefit to us all.
If, in the future, it happens to be you facing such challenges, the means of dealing with the problems and finding the right help should be more apparent and the conversations with others of more benefit.
If you are concerned about your relationship or that of a friend, and suspect that it may be having a negative impact on emotional wellbeing, or even reach the extent of including emotional abuse, then explore the information found at www.safe-services.org.ukand talk to someone to express your concerns and feel less alone in confronting the problem.
Getting professional help
There is also a small capacity for a short course of one-to-one counselling available in school. You should speak to your Head of House or the Head of Sixth Form if you think you would benefit from this, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, ask a parent or another teacher to talk to us on your behalf.
If you have a feeling that you need urgent help or that you feel so low, angry or upset that you have considered harming yourself, then the best way to get help quickly is by going to your GP and asking if they can refer you for support.
How Can Physical Activity Help My Mental Health?
There are many studies which have shown that doing physical activity can improve mental health. For example, it can help with:
- better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day
- happier moods – physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy
- managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts – doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times
We All Have Mental Health
If you are “still trying” you are coping, but do not forget
- That you are not alone
- To add exercise to your daily routine
- To get enough sleep
- Eat healthily
Remember you are stronger than you feel, your Tutor or Head of House are here to help, contact them anytime via email.
How To Cope With Anxiety
Millions of years ago, we needed anxiety to keep us safe from danger. These days our bodies still try to protect us. We worry about different things that aren’t always dangerous but our bodies still react in the same way. This is why you can feel anxious about things that aren’t actually harmful.
Because anxiety is a normal reaction, it’s sometimes hard to tell when it’s becoming a problem for you. It can start as a simple worry but grow into a panic attack. If you have a lot on your mind then sometimes quite a small thing can bring on anxiety. Remember, anxiety is normal. And there are lots of ways to manage your anxiety. Childline have created this video “How to cope with Anxiety”.
How to Deal With Loneliness and Isolation
You don’t need to be physically alone or cut off to feel lonely. You might be surrounded by other people. But it can feel like you are on your own or that no one understands how you feel.
Loneliness can make us feel down. And if you feel like this, reach out to your parents/carers/tutor/Head of House or if you do not feel comfortable talking to someone you know contact Childline. Childline have created a video which provides strategies to help with loneliness and isolation.
Free safe an anonymous online support for young people. Giving you someone to understand or advice on talking to friends, they are here for you.
Live Well Kent
Are your feelings or worries impacting on your relationships, work or life generally? You’re not alone: at least 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
At Live Well Kent they can help you improve your mental and physical health and wellbeing. It is a free service for anyone over 17.
The BeYou Project
The BeYou Project connects young people in Kent who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary or are questioning their sexual orientation and / or gender identity.
They offer a safe, welcoming and non-judgemental space where young LGBT+ people can meet to socialise, have fun and help each other.
They are leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. They're here to make sure you get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties.
Mind help with guidance on where to start on your journey to support, they can help you make the right choices, find the right treatments for you, understand your rights or reach out to sources of support.
Time To Change
They are campaign to change the way people think and act about mental health problems.