Pope Francis on facing challenges of the
"We need to rediscover the concreteness of small things, the small acts of kindness shown to those who are close to us, family and friends.
We need to realize that our treasure lies in small things.
There are tiny gestures that sometimes get lost in the routine of everyday life, gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion, that are nevertheless decisive, important”, he says.
The Pope gives the examples of sharing “a hot plate of food, a caress, a hug, a phone call... These are familiar, attentive gestures regarding everyday details that make life meaningful, and create communion and communication amongst us".
Pope Francis on COVID-19
At St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School, we are committed to supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support.
The coronavirus has had a devastating effect upon the whole world. We know that some strange things are happening that may make you afraid or worried. We are here for you so please try not to be worried.
Mrs Sime and Mrs Pritchard would like to reassure everyone that we are here for you all during this very unprecedented time and in the days ahead.
We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
At our school we:
- help children to understand their emotions and feelings better
- help children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks
- promote self esteem and ensure children know that they count
- help children feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
- help children socially to form and maintain relationships
- encourage children to be confident and ‘dare to be different’
We offer different levels of support:
Whole School Support- To meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos and our wider curriculum. For instance developing resilience for all.
Additional support- For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as covid 19,bereavement etc.
Targeted support- For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such as wellbeing groups or 1:1 support.
Lead staff members: Mrs Sime (Headteacher) and Mr Pritchard (Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader)
Healthy Inside and Out
When we think about healthy living, we tend to focus on looking after our bodies – our physical wellbeing – through food, being active and getting enough sleep. However, in order to be healthy overall, it’s important that we look after our minds – our mental wellbeing – too. We believe that to be truly healthy we need to take positive steps to be Healthy: Inside and Out.
Our bodies and minds are actually very closely linked, so things that we do to improve Being Healthy: Inside and Out, helps us to feel better in ourselves, focus on what we want to do and deal with difficult times. The links below offer lots of ways to stay Healthy:Inside and Out during these unprecedented times:
A public health England and NHS site to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others.
Quality-assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Anxious about returning back to school?...See parents guide to anxiety below:
ANXIETY /LOW MOOD in young children:
Some children may need particular support to help manage their anxiety or low mood. They may be particularly triggered by events such as seeing supermarket shelves emptying quickly – especially if they have experienced neglect or if particular foods become scarce or unavailable. Remember that a change in behaviour, such as restlessness, being more disruptive than usual or becoming quieter, may be underpinned by stress and anxiety.
The following resources may be helpful:
Random Acts of Kindness
It is good to know that there's lots of Random Acts of Kindness going on around the world, making people smile and feel happy.
Today, why not pass on an act of kindness yourself. Make someone smile and feel happy by making some Paper Chains of Kindness!
Watch the Oak National Academy (set up especially in response to Covid-19) assembly on Kindness presented by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.
Then, following the 12 minute clip start to make your own paper chains of kindness!
You can do this with scrap paper or with materials you find at home. You can complete the chains individually or with your family.
Every time you do or say something kind or someone else does something kind for you, why not write it on a strip of paper (decorate it as well if you like!) and add it to your paper chain. When completed the chains will serve as a reminder to all who see and read the comments how important it is to be kind and show kindness towards others.
How far will your finished paper chain reach?
Coronavirus: we're here for you
All of us are worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it will affect us and those we love. We are still here to support you and to make sure everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect. Below you will find some websites containing lots of activities to do at home and advice if you need it.
As illustrated in the graphic above, for children, sadness can often be
disguised as one of the following:
- Displaced Frustration
Before we can help our children with sadness we need to acknowledging our own deep sadness about everything that's happening right now.
We need to give ourselves time to meditate or pray, talk things out, take a bath, process, talk to loved ones, laugh , get fresh air and breathe. We need to take expert care of ourselves.
When our little ones moan about completing home learning or shout about something trivial, instead of getting frustrated, we can acknowledge that (under the surface) they're in crisis, just like we are.
They're dealing with uncomfortable, sad, and frustrating changes in every part of their lives and picking up on what we're feeling too.
Remember, this won’t last forever, you are doing a great job!
I know a few families are struggling to manage anxiety at the present time. I hope the tips below can help a little until life returns to some sort of normality.
- Aim to create structure & routines in the day:
o Breakfast, work, lunch, chores, exercise/fun activities, tea, shared activities/watch TV, bath/shower, bed
o Visuals can really help to provide structure & create predictability. Children who are anxious may have a poor working memory so if they can check the daily timetable it may help.
o Using timers can also provide structure, particularly for a child who is reluctant to work/exercise. If they know or can see time ticking away it may help. (For some children timers can create more anxiety so use with caution)
- Stick to regular meal times, getting up & going to bed at the same time each day.
- Ensure good sleep routines – limit screens. No electronics 90 minutes before bedtime.
- Exercise together, have fun together. If your child is reluctant to do exercise give them an element of choice eg. Bike ride or walk. Joe Wicks or Just Dance
- Stay connected with family & friends – online games, Facetime, family Zoom quizzes
- Avoid excess Corona talk, excess news & social media.
- Provide facts & explain what is happening now – focus on positives. Listen & reassure.
- Give clear information & discuss how to manage risks.
- Give daily chores to your child to complete this can be dusting and hoovering or creating a meal plan & a shopping list.
- Identify sources of anxiety & challenge them.
- Create some challenge every day to give a sense of purpose & achievement – perhaps try to learn a new skill together, master a card game, grow some plants, follow a recipe.
- Create/develop some shared interests – I know a lot of people are watching all of the Marvel films in order as a family. In my house it is re-watching all of the Harry Potter films.
- Manage your own anxiety, you may unwittingly pass your anxieties on to your children. Take some time out for yourself where possible.
An new online platform has just been developed to support all young people in Liverpool.
Everyone can access activities that promote their well being and support their mental health. You can book onto live streamed yoga classes, fitness, mindfulness etc.
The Witherslack Group have recorded a number of webinars that are free to access and well worth a watch. They cover managing anxiety and mental health, establishing routines and mindfulness exercises.
The website Partnership for Children has several activities that can be downloaded to help boost your child's well being at this difficult time. Activities include keeping a feelings diary and creating a worry jar.
Merseyside Youth Association’s mental health promotion team (RAISE Team), has developed a range of bite-size courses, adapted from courses they have previously delivered.
These sessions cover a range of mental health issues which impact on children, young people and their families.
The sessions - which are part of the Liverpool CAMHS Covid-19 response, supporting early intervention and resilience-building - will last between 20-30 minutes and will be delivered via Zoom to groups of people at various times of the day and evening. They are inviting parents as well as members of the children and young people’s workforce to take part in these sessions together.
Some of these courses have been developed in collaboration with members of the Alder Hey's Mental Health Support Team
There are some other ideas and resources on the SEND tab on Homework Hub.
Best wishes, take care,