Following on from the Mental Health Awareness Week's theme of showing kindness towards others, here are some ways in which we can explore kindness further. Remember to be kind to yourself too!
Mental Health Awareness Week
It's never been more important to stay connected to the people we care about and find ways to be kind to ourselves and others. During Mental Health Awareness Week, try some of the ideas in this pack for ways to look after our own well-being and that of others. Good luck!
The Well-being Team at NHGS
ADVICE & SUPPORT
Calderdale are now providing a new service for talking to professionals about any physical or emotional well-being issue:-
Healthy Futures Calderdale has introduced a new way for school-aged children and young people and families to access advice and support about any physical health or emotional wellbeing concerns.
ChatHealth is an NHS-approved secure and confidential text messaging service.
To access ChatHealth, TEXT 07480 635297 (young people) or 07507 332157 (parents/carers) to start a conversation.
From 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, we have experienced clinicians waiting to help. Messages outside this time frame will receive an automated response letting you know when you will receive a reply, and who to contact to get immediate help.
Texts will cost the same as a standard text or will come out of your contract message allowance.
Healthy Futures Calderdale specialist teams can support families with things like: sleep, bullying, healthy eating, allergies, continence, safeguarding, sexual health, behavioural problems, emotional wellbeing, relationships, drugs and alcohol, bereavement, puberty and growing up, complex health needs, and body worries, and can signpost or refer on to other services as appropriate.
Our clinicians can also be contacted by calling 0303 330 9974.
30th April 2020
Please find attached three new support services which are available: 'Hear for You' telephone support for adults affected by Covid-19 provided by Overgate; and two free digital treatment programmes for either parents/carers or young people who would like support in these challenging times, co-ordinated by Northpoint Wellbeing, Calderdale's CAMHS provider.
I hope this finds you all well and safe. Please do drop me a line if you have any concerns about your son or daughter.
Mrs Booth MBACP
Well-being and Engagement Co-ordinator
27th April 2020
Noah's Ark Centre is offering therapeutic telephone support to all parents during these challenging times. If you are struggling, or would just like to talk through how you're coping, please follow the attached guidance.
21st April 2020
Supporting young people who have been bereaved
Here are just a few ideas to help to support our young people if they lose someone they love, especially in the current difficult circumstances.
Tuesday 31st March
Being a Parent
Well, it’s always been an unpaid and pretty much unappreciated gig, but this takes the biscuit, doesn’t it? Cooped up in the same space, dividing the house into who is able to do what where, and trying to manage their fears, disappointments and frustrations (never mind our own) - no-one ever told us it might come to this. For me, a personal low point came this morning when the finely-balanced - not quite Tetris enough - stacks of food in the fridge over-balanced splattering spicy lentil and chickpea soup across the kitchen. My usually calm well-being demeanour was well and truly splattered!
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Those of you taking regular walks in the fresh air will have noticed that spring is definitely springing, despite the recent hail(!) - spring bulbs, buds and blossom galore. The forsythia and daffs are in full bloom and these photos are from my own recent walking - not off the interweb. So, how can we ease the tensions of these unprecedented times? The well-documented need for structure will help: home-schooling younger children in shifts around your own work; allowing some down time for everyone; meeting together to discuss concerns or requests; keeping a chilled space somewhere for everyone to have a bit of ‘me’ time; and being realistic about what can be done in a day. I’ve heard more than once over the last fortnight a parent say that they’re spending the evening genning up on algebra or magnets in order to teach their child the next day! Hats off to all the parents who’ve turned into teachers overnight, but please only aim for what is do-able. I wrote to the students last week in the same vein, to say that work is often being set in batches. If the work is supposed to last a week, they shouldn’t be trying to complete it by Monday teatime! As always, education is about quality - the effort put in - rather than quantity - who finishes first. There is time now to give things some thought without the distraction of a classroom of friends; or, conversely, the ability to get together on social media at a set time to do a project with friends. There is also time for us to ask ‘What would you like to learn today?’ or ‘What wider study would help with the topic you’re on?’ A rare opportunity..
I always say to the students I work with that counsellors don’t give advice, and I go on to ask them what they think or feel about a situation, parking my own judgement to one side. But I’ve been a parent for twenty-two years, so I’ll risk a small observation here. In the run-up to GCSEs for each of my sons, I offered them my own view of how much work I thought should be achieved in a day/week/month. We designed fancy timetables, and so on. I was pleased... Then, just as quickly, some of that went out of the window and I had to adjust to their way of working. They had the brains of teenage boys, not middle-aged mums. Some days were a spectacular hive of impetus and motivation - clearly someone was on a roll - and I was impressed; whereas other days (fewer, thankfully) shuffled along at the pace of a slug with movement barely discernible. What I learned is that I had to get with the programme - their programme. They worked according to their own rhythm, pace and botheredness. And they worked hard because of that; it just wasn’t my version of hard. Well, it has all turned out okay so far. So, I would say, negotiate terms; let them get into a rhythm; and support that version of how to work effectively. The students have been moaning for years about the school day starting earlier than the time which suits a teenage brain, so your crowning argument can be that now they can start a bit later and work at their own pace.
And the main thing is for nobody to be worrying about it - there’s enough to worry about. Contact a teacher through Google Classroom if you have a question or concern about your child’s work. Contact any of us in the well-being team for support where that may be needed (email@example.com for me, and firstname.lastname@example.org for Mrs Lamb, as we are both wfh and here to help). And, possibly, try to take this opportunity to spend family time where not everyone is frazzled to a crisp. This period in all our lives is a shared experience, and possibly unique for that. We are all going through a similar experience and having enforced time at home. Let’s try to take the silver lining in that situation and communicate more often, share time together and try to relax. Which even I wasn’t this morning! But I’ve had a cup of tea since then...
Friday 20th March 2020
For many of our students in Years 11 and 13, today is an emotional roller coaster ride. They have been talking about how they will feel about school life coming to an end for quite a while now, with the sense that they still had weeks to process what that means for them. And then, suddenly, we were all propelled into a new state of affairs with something happening beyond our control (and we really don't like not being in control!). For these students, this is more than just social distancing: walking a few paces apart or talking to their grandparents online or through a window. For many, today marks the end of a transitional phase in their lives. They have spent two, five or, in many cases, seven years together: making and changing friendships, working their socks off (and sometimes not!), and talking a lot - these kids are smart and they really know how to talk! For many of them, this is a day for goodbyes, and it's upon them sooner than it should have been. It's their leaver's assembly, the last afternoon together 'socialising', study leave, exams and results day all rolled into one. They have questions we can't answer, and they have to try and find some 'closure', as the Americans call it.
That feeling will come later down the line, but it will be based on the words spoken, photos snapped, and the affection and tears shared today. In days to come, they will feel the loss of comfortable friends, inspirational teachers and the regular structure of NHGS life, where we really have tried to create a second family for them. And parents, they may need our support - a listening ear - and we will try to be there for them, as we too come to terms (more quickly than we anticipated) with them leaving school and moving on to the next phase of their lives. However, they will also be able to stay connected to each other in a way us oldies never could. Those pesky mobile phones are going to come in useful! They will message and call each other just as often (maybe more?!); they will go old-school and knock a football around like ten-year-olds or cycle together (all at a safe distance); they will make/bake/compose/create with minds free from revision! They are young and will find the silver lining.
Parents, you can be very proud of your children; they have come far and will go much further (you only need to look back at those year 7 pictures to see the difference!). They will inspire, create and move the world forwards. They are a credit to you. It has been my pleasure to get to know and support many of these beautiful, funny, brilliant students along the way and, even though I can't be in school, I am with them today. I will miss them, but I know they will find the closure they seek:
The love you get
That love you give
Shall visit in the times you live
And you will know when sign be right to fill the dark up with the light
from 'Closure' by Scarlet Monaghan
Thursday 19th March 2020
Hi everyone in the NHGS family,
Well, these are certainly challenging times we are living through. Initially, being at home might seem straight-forward, better maybe than being in school even?! However, that feeling might not last. We may miss our friends and the regular structure of each day. We might find it hard to separate school work - yes, there will still be some ;) - with the rest of our lives. We will have increased family time, which might be fantastic... or challenging at times. As the situation develops, it's going to be important to take care of ourselves and make sure we get what we need. We should probably have a think about what that is.
As a starting point, here is a helpful pack of ideas for how to manage this situation. I will be sending more information over the coming days and weeks so that you all continue to feel supported in the usual NHGS way. Please feel free to email me if a chat would help; I will be online during normal school hours. Telephone counselling with me is also available to all students; just email me if you think that might help.
Keep checking your emails and take good care,