The 14th – 20th May 2018 is National Mental Health Awareness week.

Even for those of us who can only spare a few moments of time, this week provides is a great opportunity to raise awareness about mental health.  Whether you choose to do this via social media or through daily conversations with those around you, it’s something everybody can make an effort to do (however small)!

In this article we’d specifically like to draw attention to our young people, who are facing a notoriously stressful and pressured time of year.  Examinations season isn’t easy, and this in turn increases the demand on both parents and staff to provide adequate support.  Our expert Zoe is on hand to offer some helpful strategies…

  • Listen, be sympathetic and patient – it is important that you model being calm and in control.
  • Don’t just expect pupils to snap out of it – it takes at least 20 mins for the body and mind to calm sufficiently.
  • If a student experiences panic and begins to hyperventilate, gently support them to slow their breathing and focus on taking long exhalations.
  • Allow TIME OUT of learning and exam situations if a pupil has been experienced acute anxiety.
  • Time out cards are a useful resource for promoting greater self-regulation for pupils.
  • Prioritise the option of sitting exams in smaller, calmer rooms for vulnerable pupils.
  • Support parents with instigating regular routines at home. Consider how anxious they maybe feeling… Do they also need additional support with these issues?
  • Key questions you can use:
  1. Are there any worries that you would find helpful to talk about?
  2. What triggers the feelings of anxiety/worry/panic?
  3. What helps you feel calmer?

As always, remember to take care of yourself too!  It’s good to talk.