2021: Mental Health
How is your mental health?
[artwork from Lydia in Year 9]
The beginning of January. A time for new year's resolutions and looking forward. Following the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday 4 January and implementation of another 'stay at home' national lockdown, everyone will be approaching things differently at the start of 2021.
We need to be aware of our mental health and wellbeing and look after ourselves and others. And we need to recognise that it's ok to ask for help, whether from a family member, a friend, someone at school or a third party.
Many young people, especially those that were due to sit exams this summer, are feeling frustrated about the lockdown announcement. You may have noticed a change in behaviour. Recognising the emotions that cause the behaviour changes, and talking about them (preferably calmly and rationally but whilst recognising that talking about feelings is an emotional business), is a good first step, whether you are feeling deflated, anxious, angry or any combination of a myriad of feelings. Bottling up strong emotions for long periods of time is rarely good for you. Exercise is good way to vent emotions - do you walk, run or practice yoga? Do you have a skipping rope, a trampoline or a ball? Remember that once a day members of a household can exercise together or one single person can meet one other single person from another household to exercise locally in safe and socially distanced manner, so you could meet up with one friend for a walk for example.
Keeping a daily routine is important, so make sure you are going to your Teams lessons and completing work. Attending the Tutor sessions on Teams is a good way to maintain your social contact with staff and others in your tutor group. If you are struggling in any way contact your Tutor or Year Leader. If you are having any issues accessing MS Teams, Show My Homework (Satchel One), and email, check our Remote Learning FAQs.
Of course, school is more than simply education, it is somewhere to see friends, to be warm (ish!), to get help if required and more. Social isolation during lockdown is a very real issue for everyone but especially young people. Whether an only child or a child in a larger household, you can still feel alone. Stay in contact with your friends. Check in with each other and make sure you're ok. Share your emotions. Ask questions that will lead to a response - think more along the lines of "You’ve seemed a bit quiet recently, is everything alright? I’m here if you want to talk." rather than "How are you?" Or if the answer to a "How are you?" is "Fine", check with something like "But how are you really?" Arrange for video calls too, either just for a chat or to sing daft songs or discuss the latest sports results.
We hope that the following links will be useful for both pupils and parents.
Dr Radha's five mental health tips for lockdown: Dr Radha Modgil from BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks shares her top five tips on how to stay mentally and emotionally well during the coronavirus lockdown, all beginning with the letter C. Two minute video...
Young Minds: The Young Minds website has a wealth of really useful guidance, tips and advice about a range of topics, including coronavirus and mental health.
As one of their contributors writes: "I think that this is important to remember. Every single person in the world is currently being affected in one way or another by what's going on with the coronavirus. Which means that loads of people are worried, scared and anxious. If you're feeling these things, have a look at YoungMinds’ advice."
NCS Blog: The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a youth programme, generally run in the summer holidays, which gives 16 and 17 year olds the opportunities to meet new people, go new places, make new friends, do new things, and give back to the local community. Many former Deer Park pupils have taken part. The NCS Blog includes useful information such as 'Looking after your Wellbeing in Isolation' and 'How to Check in on your Pal’s Mental Health during Lockdown'
Recent useful articles:
- Ways to take of yourself in Tier 5
- How to cope with the winter lockdown in the UK
- Be kind to yourself and to others.
If pupils wish to talk with someone outside of their household about something that worries them, they can contact their tutor or year leader, or their teacher if the questions are curriculum-based. Parents can contact our Pastoral team. Go to Staff for contact details.
Whilst remote 'blended' learning is not the first choice for schools and parents, we can still be the best that we can be. We need to consider the bigger picture and remember the key part that we as individuals can all play in helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As we know, the number of hospitalisations is increasing. We can help by decreasing the amount that we interact with people outside out of household or support bubble.
NHS: 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing
1. Connect with other people
2. Be physically active
3. Learn new skills
4. Give to others
5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Remember to smile! We will return to school. The sun will shine. The air will be warm. And we will be able to see friends again. It may just take a while. In the meantime, make time to spend quality time with the people in your household, even if they drive you crazy at times. And spend some time outdoors. Yes, it’s colder than the first lockdown, but there is still beauty out there, you just need to look.