Emotional, Social and Mental Wellbeing

At Huntingdon Academy we believe in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive. Our school ethos and values underpin everything that we do.

Who has mental health?

We all have mental health – some people call this emotional health or wellbeing.

What is mental health?

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual achieves their potential, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.

Good mental health and wellbeing is just as important as good physical health. Like physical health, mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy to unwell; it can fluctuate on a daily basis and change over time.

Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. It is thought that this is probably because of changes in the way that we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.

What helps?

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:

  • being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
  • being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
  • going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
  • taking part in local activities for young people.

Other factors are also important, including:

  • feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
  • being hopeful and optimistic
  • being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
  • accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
  • having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
  • feeling they have some control over their own life
  • having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.

What happens in school?

In school, we teach children about what it means to have good mental health and wellbeing throughout our curriculum and daily practice.

Our PSHE curriculum covers mental health, wellbeing, emotional regulation across all year groups.
We have a trained Senior Mental Health Lead (SMHL) and Mental First Aider at Huntingdon This is Miss Yarnell. 

What if my child is experiencing difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing?

Mental health doesn’t mean being happy all the time and neither does it mean avoiding stresses altogether. One of the most important ways to help your child is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously.

In many instances, children and young people’s negative feelings and worries usually pass with the support of their parents and families. It is helpful for the school to know what they are going through at these times, so that staff can be aware of the need and support this.

Coping and adjusting to setbacks are critical life skills for children, just as they are for adults, but it is important that they develop positive, rather than negative, coping skills.

If you are ever worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing then, just as you would about any concerns that you have about their learning, come and talk to us. Sometimes children will need additional support for a short period – this may be in the form of a daily check-in with a trusted adult,  time to talk through what they are feeling and support in developing ways of moving forwards with this.

If your child is distressed for a long time, if their negative feelings are stopping them from getting on with their lives, if their distress is disrupting family life or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways you would not expect at their age, then please speak to your child’s teacher.

Looking after yourself

If things are getting you down, it’s important to recognise this. Talk to someone you trust and see what they think. It is easy to go on struggling with very difficult situations because you feel that you should be able to cope and don’t deserve any help.

Come and talk to us, in confidence and let us know when things are tough. As much as you try to hide how you are feeling from your child, they will notice even the smallest changes.

Go to your GP if things are really getting on top of you. Asking for some support from your doctor or a referral to a counselling service is a sign of strength. You can’t help your child if you are not being supported yourself.

Other services that can be accessed for support with mental health and wellbeing

BEH – Support Services | Ask Lion – Nottingham City Directory

Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) | Ask Lion – Nottingham City Directory

We also have access to the Nottingham City Mental Health Support Team services. School can make a referral for your child to this service, or it is possible for you to self-refer to the team. Information on how to contact the team can be found below:

Referring to the Nottingham City Mental Health Support Team

Young people under 11 years’ old and on roll of a project school

Parent/Caregivers can use the online Mental Health Referral Form

Parent/Caregivers can call: 0115 876 4899

Parent/Caregivers can Text: 07874 633 715

Parent/Guardians can speak to the Senior Mental Health Lead (SMHL) at school and they will complete a simple referral form with you.

Young people can also speak to a member of school staff who works with them who could support them with completing a referral.

Other Resources

Health for Kids | A fun and interactive resource for learning about health

Parents’ Guide to Looking After Your Mental Health | YoungMinds

Parents and Carers | Advice and Guidance | Anna Freud Centre

Support for children

NameType of supportLinkFor what age group?
Calm ZoneOnline support to feel calm- breathing exercises, activities, games and videos to support.https://www.childline.org.uk/toolbox/calm-zone/Whole School
Caring for eachother- Sesame StreetVideos, activities and tips for the whole family, especially parents, to care for themselves and others during this timehttps://www.sesamestreet.org/caringEarly Years and Key Stage One
Anna Freud Centre- Self Care sectionLong list of strategies that can help (self-help style)- you can click through and find more information and then links to things such as online CBT.https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/Key Stage Two
Stop, breathe and think KidsAPP with missions children can go on to help them (suitable for 5-10 year olds)See app storeWhole School
Well-being WednesdaySuperhero online teaching a skill each week.http://tpet.co.uk/wellbeing-wednesday/Whole School
TES support for children and young peopleOnline signpostinghttps://www.educare.co.uk/edusafe-cypUpper Key Stage Two
Winston’s WishWebsite to support bereaved childrenhttps://www.winstonswish.org/All
Dove Self Esteem ProjectSupport for parents and teachers improving children’s self esteemhttps://www.dove.com/uk/dove-self-esteem-project.htmlUKS2
Growth mindset for young childrenWebsite linkhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/help-your-child-try-new-thingsEYFS and KS1
Growth Mindset activitiesLinks to activitieshttps://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/building-on-strengths/download-growth-mindset-activities-for-kidsWhole School

Support for parents


https://papyrus-uk.org/ (support for people and families with suicide or worried about children)

https://www.annafreud.org/parents-and-carers/- range of support

tmh-parent-leaflet-final-all-approved-laid-out-for-web  Tips for parents and carers for talking about mental health