Lancashire Mind has delivered The Whole School Approach to Mental Health to Lancashire Secondary Schools since 2018 - helping students, staff, parents and carers to collectively improve the mental health and wellbeing of the school community.
Having worked with 8 schools each academic year since the start of the project, the work which took place during 2020/21 was the most challenging yet due to Covid-19. The move to remote learning created a new environment and presented challenges and changes for young people, parents and carers and school staff.
Much of The Whole School Approach to Mental Health is based on delivery both in school and by working face to face regularly with all groups of the school community. In order to continue to work with schools, Lancashire Mind adapted the support on offer including: virtual peer support sessions, a newsletter and regular check ins with the schools.
In November 2020, Lancashire Mind held an independent survey to gather both quantitative and qualitative information, and to hear directly from staff and pupils about what schools and Lancashire Mind could provide to best support their wellbeing. This decision was influenced by the impact of COVID-19 and school closures, which was reflected in the choice of survey questions.
Lancashire Mind received a positive response, with a total of 108 staff members and 2746 pupils taking part.
> Across all 8 schools, a key finding was that male and female pupils had wellbeing scores in the medium/population average category.
> Key themes in the qualitative data across all schools highlighted a need for greater support within school, and more education/awareness-raising of mental health. This feedback will be used to further shape the support schools receive as part of the programme.
Community Development Lead Holly Mannion said: “Everyone across the school communities we work with have faced challenging times over the last 12 months and there are still challenges ahead. Prior to Covid we were working with schools to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the school communities and Covid has added another dynamic to that work in terms of the support schools have needed."
"Although it has been a difficult time it has also been clear that many young people, school staff and parents and carers have showed resilience in the face of change and used what they have learnt through working with Lancashire Mind. This is incredibly heartening to see and is a key reason we deliver this project.”
Mental Health Support
Here are some of the things we were told through the survey:
- ‘School could have a mental heath lesson or assembly on what a good and bad mental heath is and what you can do if your feeling down.’
- ‘Provide lessons on how important mental health is.’
- ‘I think my school is great with handling mental health! They do a lot, 3 there are just things that school can’t help which get on top of you.’
- ‘If there is a specific person students should go to for support, have them be well known and approachable.’