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Mental Health and Wellbeing

This is a challenging time for staff, pupils and families within the school community. This section contains resources and advice to support everyone's mental health and wellbeing. The Department for Education has recommended the websites in this attachment to support families and children with mental health.

Fairfield Wellbeing Guide

The Fairfield Wellbeing Guide provides advice and support about mental health and wellbeing during the school closure.

Supporting Young People

The Universities of Oxford and Reading have provided Fairfield with the attached guide to support young people with worries about coronavirus.

Looking after your feelings

Public Health England have produced this easy to read guide to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children.

Young Minds

Young Minds has a selection of articles on their website focusing on mental health and coronavirus. Here is advice if you are anxious about recent events. Here is an article with advice for parents on how to talk to your children about coronavirus. 

Mind

Mind provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Here is an extensive article focusing on coronavirus and your wellbeing. Here is a link for different ways to contact Mind for further advice and support.

Childline

Counsellors are available for children to contact through Childline either online or by telephone. The phone number is 0800 1111 and is available from 9am to midnight. Further help and guidance can be found here about how to contact Childline.

Mindfulness

Oxford University and the MYRIAD Wellbeing Study Trial 

At Fairfield we have a deep commitment to pupils’ personal development and wellbeing. As such, we put ourselves forward to take part in a trial to explore the impact of mindfulness practices on young people. This is the first trial of its type in the world. Incredibly, we were randomly selected to receive the full study arm of the trial.

The trial name is MYRIAD (My Resilience in Adolescence). MYRIAD is a study into how we can prepare young people to manage their emotional health and improve resilience. The study is funded by the Wellcome Trust and at the heart of it is a large randomised controlled trial to establish whether teaching mindfulness in schools is effective in supporting positive mental health. The study is being led by Oxford University, Cambridge University and University College London.

In the summer of 2016, four colleagues travelled to Birmingham to receive four days of intensive training. We were joined by staff from eleven other schools who had been randomly selected from across the UK to form the first cohort of the study. Over the course of the training each of us learnt how to deliver the ‘.b’ course as mindfulness instructors. The .b course is superb, it is a series of strategies which pupils learn that can be used in a variety of settings to restore a sense of wellbeing and calm. We returned from the training to learn which randomly identified classes from across years 8 and 9 were going to complete the .b course.

As the staff team delivered the sessions we started to hear of the impact from pupils, many said they had taught the strategies to family members and they in turn were starting to see the benefits. We felt it wasn’t right for us to deliver such a high impact course to our designated study groups alone, so we started to teach the whole of year 7 making it part of their Lifeskills curriculum. This continues today, we are committed to ensuring all our year 7 pupils have at their disposal, ways of restoring a sense of balance and wellbeing. These may not be strategies that pupils use right now, but maybe during examinations or times of difficulty and stress, they may be a support.

Our study groups have been visited by the MYRIAD team to complete confidential questionnaires gauging resilience and wellbeing in the years following pupils’ initial mindfulness training. This has happened twice a year, totalling 5 visits in all. There are now 84 schools on the trial and once the study is completed and the results have been analysed, the outcomes and conclusions will be shared with key organisations and figures in education and health.

To all our pupils who have been part of the study, a big thank you for being such willing participants, you may well be shaping education in the future. I am sure what you have learnt will support you in life. If you wish to find out more please visit: www.myriadproject.org

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