The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Mental health and wellbeing

Clare Erasmus

My pledge for 2017? To help change the language of learning!

Early, pro-active interventions remain an undercapitalized way of supporting pupils with mental health difficulties. While we wait for the funding to trickle through, we still need to be pro-active. A DfE study has found that one in ten children and young people aged 5 to 16 has a clinically...
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Gareth D Morewood

How can we support the emotional regulation of children with autism?

Helping pupils with autism to regulate their emotions and handle changing states will greatly benefit their capacity to engage. Here's a summary of what you need to know and how you can help. Recently I have been fortunate enough to have took part in some powerful discussions with Studio III , who...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Healthy schools: working towards wellbeing

Promoting health and wellbeing in school can help pupils lead long, happy lives. Here are some tips for encompassing the 'whole package' of wellbeing in your school's approach. It is undeniable that schools have a responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles. There is little point in developing...
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Laura Nuttall

Mental health: don’t let your pupils ‘get by’ unsupported

As someone who received support from my school counsellor and teachers, I still struggled with my mental health illness. How do pupils who don't have access to adequate support cope? They don't. Many years ago, I was an 8-year-old in a primary school classroom desperately trying not to cry whilst...
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Sofia Correia A...

Be the writer of your life story: why we need to express emotions

It can be a struggle for young people to acknowledge overwhelming emotions and how to express them. In Using Poetry to Promote Talking and Healing, Dr. Pooky Knightsmith outlines how we can help students to express their emotions clearly and safely. Poetry can open up discussion In Using Poetry to...
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Dr Pooky Knightsmith

Be better at understanding and responding to self-harm

When we take a little time to understand the reasons young people self-harm, it quickly becomes apparent that we need to tailor our response to reflect those reasons. If we respond with a one size fits all approach to self-harm, we might help in the short term, but if we want to provide safe,...
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Caroline Hounsell

Anxiety in schools: 8 tips for teachers

Understanding the causes and symptoms of anxiety is essential when learning how to best support pupils in school. Caroline Hounsell from Mental Health First Aid England explains what schools need to know. What is leading to the growing epidemic of anxiety amongst children and young people? This is...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Why teacher mental health matters – and how to improve it

With a third of the teaching workforce predicted to leave the profession by 2020, Elizabeth Holmes explores the links between positive mental health, productivity and retention. To think too much is a disease. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) Research by the Education Support Partnership has revealed that over...
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Sara Boomsma

Anxiety: a growing epidemic?

The pressure placed on pupils today is ever mounting. Expectations and social pressures leave some pupils unable to cope. Here are some top tips for supporting pupils with anxiety. The pressure placed on pupils today is ever mounting. Expectations surrounding academic achievement, coupled with...
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Sara Boomsma

Let’s talk about mental health

For Children’s Mental Health Week, two colleagues share their experiences of having friends and family with mental health difficulties. Sara’s story This important week has made me reflect on my own experiences of being a sibling of someone with mental health difficulties, and why it is always...
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