Looking after your mental health

The current situation has drawn attention to the importance of maintaining both our physical and mental health. There are a number of techniques for tackling this, including mindfulness, which the NHS describes as “paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you”. 

The Independent has recently published their review of the 15 best mindfulness apps to help you keep calm during a crisis and reported that demand for these has increased since the first lockdown in March last year.  

The best known of these is probably Headspace which can be downloaded as a free trial, followed by a monthly subscription. If you’re trying to reduce your screen time however, then techniques such as trying to notice the details and sensations of the everyday, being aware of your surroundings, naming your negative thoughts and feelings can be the first step towards mindfulness. 

There are also courses available across the county, designed to support both teaching staff of all levels as well as governors. 

Citywide Alliance Schools Training (CAST) is holding a two-part session on Mindfulness – supporting mental health and wellbeing in challenging times on 19th and 26th March.  The course is run by Teaching and Mindfulness Practitioner, Gina Mitchell and the aim is to understand what mindfulness is, to share practical techniques and identify strategies for whole school implementation.   

If you’re a Clerk or Governor and would like to understand more about schools’ responsibilities regarding Mental Health and Wellbeing, the Local Authority Children’s Services Standards and Learning Effectiveness Service are running remote sessions in February and March on Mental Health and Wellbeing.  This training is designed give clarity on the government’s recommendations and to identify steps to help support the Senior Leadership Team in your school. 

If you’re concerned about your own mental health, or for a colleague or loved one, the NHS lists a number of organisations who can provide you with support.