The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Mental health and wellbeing

Nicola Harvey

Strategies to support anxiety

Nicola Harvey shares four practical strategies to use in supporting children or young people who are experiencing anxiety. Anxiety is a normal emotion and we all experience it from time to time. It only becomes a problem when anxiety persistently gets in the way of a child or young person living...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Supervision for mental health leads: why and how?

Kelly Hannaghan makes the case for pastoral staff supervision for mental health and wellbeing leads, as a means to process the increasing pressures they are carrying. It’s perplexing that wellbeing practitioners such as psychologists and social workers have regular supervision that is mandatory,...
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Adele Bates

Pandemic permissions: let’s keep talking about mental health and wellbeing

‘Actually, I’m not that great.’ What would change if we put conversations about mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of our work in schools? Around Christmas I got a text from someone I vaguely know: ‘sorry, I’m not able to work on that right now, I’m having trouble with my mental health’...
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Nicola Harvey

Understanding anxiety in children and young people

Anxiety is a normal feeling and can help protect us from danger. But when and why does it become a problem? Nicola Harvey explores some common forms of anxiety. The pandemic has impacted everyone. The new norm means unexpected school closures, social distancing in public spaces, children being away...
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Luke Ramsden

Thoughts for safeguarding leads on returning from lockdown

Safeguarding lead Luke Ramsden reflects on experiences of the return to full schooling and implications for the summer term and new academic year. School staff around the country were delighted when we realised that we could all return in person for the last three or four weeks of term. Now that we...
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Adele Bates

Pause and prioritise the basics: lockdown, pandemic and resilience

Adele Bates talks to resilience writer David Gumbrell about the importance of connection, space, reassurance and getting outdoors. David Gumbrell is an author and speaker on resilience and wellbeing. A teacher for over 20 years, he worked his way up from NQT to headteacher, holding various...
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Luke Ramsden

A day in the life of a safeguarding lead in lockdown

Luke Ramsden reflects on the 'new normal' of life as a safeguarding lead during lockdown and beyond. At a time when the media has generally described schools as ‘closed’, teachers have in fact been busier than ever, trying to adapt well-practised lesson plans and schemes of work to a world of...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Managing anxiety in challenging times

The changing and challenging circumstances we find ourselves in are creating a wave of anxiety, particularly for those working in schools. Elizabeth Holmes looks at what to do and where to go for help. This is unquestionably an anxiety-inducing time. As I write, there have been challenging words...
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Nicola Harvey

Digital mental health platforms for young people: an innovative way forward?

The pandemic is just one factor driving the increased use of online mental health platforms. Nicola Harvey weighs up the opportunities and challenges this innovation presents. At a time when everyone is adjusting to the tier system and vaccines are on the way, children and young people are...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Coping with change and moving forward with hope

Kelly Hannaghan shares her lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic and explores ways to adjust to the new normal in education and life. Photo by Florian Bernhardt on Unsplash As I sit in my local community library reflecting on 2020, it dawns on me that I haven’t really taken the...
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