St Margaret’s launches innovative partnership to boost mental health

St Margaret’s launches innovative partnership to boost mental health

1 February 2021

St. Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen have teamed up with a local charity, Mental Health Aberdeen, to boost pupils’ mental health and wellbeing as part of Children’s Mental Health Week (1st – 7th February). In what has been recognised as a massive challenge in the wake of the pandemic, the Scottish Government released evidence that there is a “fairly consistent finding in Scottish surveys that the mental wellbeing of girls, particularly older girls has fared worse than that of boys during the pandemic.”

St. Margaret’s have proactively offered a range of wellbeing activities and support for girls at the school since the start of the pandemic to support mental health as well as attainment. This latest wellbeing initiative is designed to support girls through ten challenges that help to improve resilience and mental wellbeing through a series of flashcards distributed to pupils across the senior school which provide hints and tips about how to maintain and improve mental wellbeing, especially during lockdown.

Pupils are able to access challenges, support and dedicated wellbeing assemblies through their newly launched Wellbeing hub online. Each week young people will be set two challenges to complete, with teachers hoping these will give the girls a much needed daily boost. It has been co-designed by Mental Health Aberdeen and the school’s wellbeing committee, following on from a successful MOVEmber Millions campaign, which saw pupils, parents, staff and former pupils from St. Margaret’s work together to complete one million steps a day in November. A total of 2165 entries were recorded, with a total of 37,729,746 steps throughout November. The MOVEmber campaign also raised £800 for Mental Health Aberdeen and Plan International.

Head of PE, Karen Norval, who is leading the Winter Wellbeing initiative said:

“Even outside of a pandemic, January and February are often referred to as ‘blue months, so we knew we had to do something creative and fun that the girls could get involved with to maintain and improve their wellbeing and resilience.

“Throughout the last year we have gone the extra mile to ensure wellbeing is at the forefront of all of our learning activities at St. Margaret’s – and Children’s Mental Health Week provides an important focus to ensure every young person has access to the support they need to navigate such unprecedented times.

“It has been great to work with Mental Health Aberdeen, not only to support our girls’ wellbeing and education, but to also help raise funds for the charity’s important work.”

Sophie Cordiner, senior prefect at St. Margaret’s, said:

“During lockdown when we are away from friends and our normal routine, it is more important than ever to look after our mental health. The St Margaret’s wellbeing website offers an accessible resource for pupils with easy to understand tips and fun challenges to help us look after ourselves.”

Graeme Kinghorn, Trustee & Treasurer at Mental Health Aberdeen said:

“The restrictions over the past months have further highlighted the importance of maintaining good mental health and wellbeing. We already know that we all have different ways of coping through challenging times and were delighted to help and provide handy tips and hints for the girls. MHA are very grateful for the support from the pupils and staff at St. Margaret’s”

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