This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, a campaign that aims to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.
Supporting young people with their mental health is an important area for Burnley FC in the Community. The charity is proud to deliver the Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project, with a full-time Mental Wellbeing Worker placed in eleven secondary schools across Burnley and Pendle.
The Mental Wellbeing Workers support students that are in need of help by offering a wide range of interventions in both one-to-one and group settings, while also raising awareness of the importance of mental health within each school.
Lockdown and school restrictions have resulted in the Mental Wellbeing Workers adapting their way of working so they can still best support students in a safe and compliant manner.
To mark Children’s Mental Health Week and the importance of looking after your mental wellbeing during these difficult times, our Mental Wellbeing Workers offer an update on how they have been working to support students during lockdown.
Hayley – The work that we are carrying out in schools has always been crucial, but now more so than ever. Our young people need stability and routine and to be able to provide a small amount of that in the current situation is a real honour. Our most vulnerable students are still receiving face-to-face weekly support and any students who are having to stay at home are receiving tailored support to best suit their needs. This can be a structured session; a welfare check or a simple “what have you been up to this week?” kind of conversation.
Cameron – Since lockdown I have mainly been working remotely through Teams to continue having sessions with the students. In sessions, I have been delivering more content on sleep hygiene in order to help students create and maintain better sleeping routines. Other things that we are working on is how to increase mood levels by reducing the time students spend alone in their rooms. This involves actively setting goals to engage with others in the household or create tasks to do during the week.
Lidia – My role has been vital for student’s wellbeing; my workload has increased due to the impact lockdown and home learning has had upon student’s wellbeing. I am offering a face-to-face service for students to come into school for a wellbeing session and online sessions for those at home.
I have just completed a presentation on positive steps to wellbeing for all students to observe during tutorials to gain tips on how to improve their wellbeing. We are also working on creating a wellbeing section on the school website for everyone to access, which will include information on improving wellbeing and tools to manage low mood and anxious thoughts as well as making a smooth and positive return to school.
Katy – At school we are focussing on the 5 ways to wellbeing and each day we release a new slide on a powerpoint presentation, on the school website and school Facebook. I thought this was a great way to keep the momentum going all week to raise awareness and support students, staff, families and the community. On each day, I have given examples of what students can do either by themselves, with a friend or family member.
I have also been completing online sessions with students I was working with before Christmas, they have been going really well and parents and students have enjoyed them. I have also been making phone calls to check in with parents about students and interacting with the students in school checking in with them on breaks and lunches.
In previous lockdowns when I was in schools I arranged baking sessions, treasure hunts, games and sports with the students to improve their mental health. It gave them a break from school work and thinking about what was going on in the world. It was chance for them to switch off from technology, scary thoughts and just be themselves and most of all encouraged them to have fun and connect with each other.
Zaid – The work that I have been doing over lockdown has been different to my usual routine. Apart from helping students by going through psycho-educational interventions such as exploring thoughts, managing worry, positive self-talk, I’ve also been engaging students into sport, especially those of which usually take part in sport but have not been able to due to lockdown. This helps students by keeping them in a routine whilst also taking part in activities which are enjoyable to them and engaging in conversations, which positively impacts their overall mental health and wellbeing.
In addition to this, I have also been doing home visits, which consist of checking in with students around their wellbeing and welfare and also checking in with student’s ins school, emailing/ringing students to ensure they know that they have someone to talk to if they do have any problems or issues which can be solved.
Kyle – In lockdown students have been receiving weekly support via video call and telephone. This has helped to keep a relationship with students whilst also reminding them that they are not alone and always have someone to talk to.
Victoria – In sessions we have looked at anxiety and worry around managing the workload remotely and taking time for their own mental wellbeing. We have looked at problem solving and strategies to help support their mental wellbeing such as listening to music, running, yoga and kicking a football in the garden. I am finding that by supporting students by problem solving and looking at strategies to help support their mental wellbeing that they can manage their workload and take time for their wellbeing.
Deborah – I have been working with some of the students whose parents are key workers and the vulnerable students within school. We have worked on identifying and challenging negative, automatic thoughts with regards to the Covid testing in school, as a number of students were anxious about the test itself.
I have also joined in with Behavioural Activation with students to improve their mood, for example target football. I have worked on sleep hygiene with the students who are remote learning, identifying ways of improving sleep and the importance of having a regular sleep pattern.
We are also hopeful to start some group work within the bubbles in school on Covid anxiety.
Hannah – I have created activities which reflect on 2020, the adaptations and changes we have all had to deal with. I’ve used the following questions to reiterate pulling the positives out of a negative situation, who and what are you grateful for more than ever? What did you learn to appreciate more? What have you discovered about yourself? How has your personality grown/ changed? What are you proud of?
I’ve asked the students to write the answers down on a piece of paper and put them in a jar, then whenever they are feeling down or frustrated about lockdown, if they open up the jar and remember how good they are at pulling positives out of a negative situation. It also helps them reflect on how can we utilise what we have learnt in 2020 to create our own coping strategies for 2021/lockdowns.
Amanda – We have been looking at time management. I’ve encourage students to make time daily for their wellbeing, music has psychological benefits it can relax the mind, energise the body and can improve your mood. Setting time aside for self, improves mental health.
Charlotte – We’re now doing telephone sessions with the pupils, this allows us to check in with the pupils to see how they are and allows them to discuss with us any difficulties they are facing. This feels so important right now when they are faced with uncertainty and such big changes.
During lockdown Burnley FC in the Community launched a Wellbeing Wednesdays campaign, with resources released weekly to support mental health, covering topics such as sleepy hygiene and mindfulness. The resources are available here.
For more information about the Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project and our Mental Wellbeing Workers, click here.