At My Online Schooling, the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils is extremely important to us and we understand that for pupils to get the most out of their education, their mental health and wellbeing need to be supported.
Think about the last time you had a cold, or had an asthma flare up. Or perhaps when you twisted your ankle, or scratched your knees falling over. What did you do? Did you drink hot lemon with honey to soothe your throat? Did you put a plaster or bandage over your injury? Maybe you stayed on the couch, wrapped in a duvet and binge watched Netflix.
These are all examples of our physical health going through tough times. Similar to this, we also experience better and worse periods of mental health through our lifetimes. However, whereas we are often taught how and encouraged to take care of our physical health, taking care of our mental health is sometimes not given the same importance.
Looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health. As anxiety and other mental health conditions are on the rise amongst young people, it is becoming increasingly important to recognise the signs of mental health problems in order to address them early on. Some key signs to look out for are;
If you notice your child or a loved one is showing any of these signs, there are actions you can take to help them:
The way we think, feel and behave are linked. Sometimes we develop thoughts or behaviours that are unhelpful. Try to think of the evidence you have for a negative thought (if any!) and use this to form a more positive thought!
Staying active and getting fresh air can be a great way to clear your head. Remember that when you feel stressed, your body is in fight or flight mode and is expecting physical activity!
This might be making time to read your favourite book, learn a new skill or hobby, or meet upwith friends and family.
When we are kind to others, ourselves and the environment, it makes us feel good and can help build our self-esteem!
Practicing gratitude can be a great way to recognise the positives in our day-to-day lives. At the end of each day, try writing 3-5 things that went well or that you are grateful for.
Remember that talking to someone for help, advice and support, or just having someone listen to you, can be really beneficial.
At My Online Schooling we offer different resources for our pupils that support their wellbeing. We provide our pupils with Mind of My Own app that helps them feel empowered and heard. We also offer Laughtercise classes that help our pupils to relax and relief stress by giggling and wiggling. More information below.
The wellbeing of our pupils is really important to us and our teachers, the wellbeing team and the education team are available for our pupils to talk to. However, we also understand that some young people may find it difficult to reach out for support or to talk face to face about their feelings.
For this reason, we have partnered with Mind of My Own which provides an accessible and empowering way for young people to tell those who work with them about the things that are important to them. Young people can create their own accounts, which can be used on any device at any time. The app will ask them about how they are feeling, what is going well and any news they would like to share. Once a pupil has shared their news, they can review this and send it to the wellbeing/education team. We will then be able to reach out to pupils to acknowledge their news and offer any support if necessary.
Laughtercise brings wiggles and giggles to everyone’s living room all around the world! Their aim is to let children do what they love; being playful by making them laugh and feel-better with silly bouncing around and laughing until they are rolling on the floor sessions. Laughtercise brings new perspectives and activities to meet school’s wellbeing targets. The sessions help pupils to release energy, feel good and concentrate better afterwards.
At My Online Schooling, we are committed to ensure that our pupils have tools and options to take care of their wellbeing. For this reason we have partnered up with Laughtercise to provide our pupils support on their journey with us.
Laughtercise offers monthly classes to our junior pupils. Run by Chief Chucklers Aaron Betesta and Harriet Brady-Jackson, Laughtercise offer fun, energetic laughter-fitness sessions to burn energy, relieve stress and promote overall wellbeing. This class allows pupils to laugh with their friends and release energy in a really positive way. Each lesson has a different theme for example, jungle, under the sea etc. The lessons will include movement activities and laughing exercises and ends with deep breathing techniques.
Additionally, pupils who are enrolled in this class will have access to the Laughtercise portal where they will be able to watch videos including yoga videos, chill videos and brain and body buzz videos. Pupils will also be given humorous homework to encourage them to think about their wellbeing in a fun way.
To ensure we are able to support our pupils’ mental health and wellbeing, we have a Head of Wellbeing, Vanessa Baker. Vanessa is dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils at MyOnline Schooling. As Head of Wellbeing, Vanessa liaises with families and teachers to ensure that pupils’ mental health and wellbeing are supported in the classroom.
Head of Wellbeing
As Head of Wellbeing at My Online Schooling, I am here to oversee and support our pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. I work with parents and teachers to ensure children are getting the support that they need to access the curriculum.
In 2018, I graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a degree in Psychology. This gave me a deeper understanding of child development and mental health. While studying, I worked with Lothian Autistic Society as a support worker. In this role I helped children build up their independence by working closely with them to set and achieve goals which would help develop key life skills.
After graduating, I worked in a primary school supporting children with a variety of additional support needs. These needs included autism, ADHD, social emotional difficulties and physical disabilities. I provided individualised support to help children access the curriculum, develop social skills and tools for emotional regulation. This experience helped me to further my knowledge of additional needs and mental health in young people.
Outside of work, I enjoy going for walks with our border collie puppy, Bailey! At the weekend, I love meeting up with family and friends to go for walks or out for lunch.