Action on Mental Health Awareness Week at St Mary’s School, Cambridge

Action on Mental Health Awareness Week at St Mary’s School, Cambridge

8 May 2021

St Mary’s School, Cambridge is heightening its already strong focus on supporting wellbeing and positive mental health, with a targeted programme of activities planned across Mental Health Awareness Week, from 10-16 May 2021.

Throughout this week, students in our Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form will have access to a full programme of activities, workshops and talks focused on practising and exploring different techniques for supporting mental health.

The pro-active programme is designed to offer a balance of different approaches – spanning the creative, fun, informative and active.

As ‘nature’ is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, students in our Junior School will be having more of their lessons outdoors to appreciate nature and the world around them, and will work on artwork that is also linked to nature, taking inspiration from famous artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Monet, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe to name a few. This creative project will culminate in a display to help use artwork made by the children to help increase their positive wellbeing. They will also take part in mindfulness lessons and both their house meetings and assemblies will all have a mental health theme.

Students in our Senior School and Sixth Form, will enjoy opportunities to:

Be expressive: by exploring dance as a medium for expressing thoughts and feelings

Be creative: with mindful colouring, painting, balloon modelling and pom-pom-making

Be reflective: through gratitude journaling and a mental health themed book club

Be informed: with a 6th Form Stress Management workshop and talks on the impact of social media on mental health, and effect of visual art on mental health

Be engaged: feel good films, an emoji photo challenge, Zumba, a school Gratitude Board, daily wellbeing Word Clouds, quizzes and wellbeing bingo, and dedicated tutor-time are just some of the additional ways St Mary’s will be working to engage everyone in starting conversations around mental health across the week.

In addition to all these activities, all students will participate in a wellbeing survey, to inform the school’s ongoing approach to this vital topic, as part of its exceptional pastoral provision.

St Mary’s will also be running a series of initiatives for teaching and support staff, focused on supporting their long-term mental health and wellbeing. This will include a further survey, to understand staff wellbeing, plus staff Zumba classes, a session on breathing techniques to support self-care and staff room treats!

Katie Phillips, Mental Health & Wellbeing Co-Coordinator at St Mary’s Senior School comments, “Whilst mental health and wellbeing always takes top priority at St Mary’s, we wanted to re-double and evaluate our efforts for this Mental Health Awareness week following the challenges of Covid-19 during the past year. Now we’re thankfully all back together in school, this is the perfect moment to ensure conversations are happening, that we’re listening and taking pro-active action on ensuring everyone in our school community feels supported.”

Jane Freebairn, Pupil Voice and Wellbeing Coordinator at our Junior School comments, “Hopefully by supporting the girls’ mental health and spending time appreciating nature, we will also get the benefits we hope to see for our pupils.”

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