Mental Health and Wellbeing
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Here at STFS we greatly value and place importance upon the well-being, both physical and mental, of our pupils and staff. Pastoral care is delivered to pupils on many levels; from Form Tutors, Learning Leaders, Support Staff and Senior Leadership to name a few. We do not underestimate either the importance of strong peer support throughout the school. This is reflected in our vertical tutoring system in Years 7 to 10, as well as through peer mentoring systems and extra- curricular activities. Strong links and communication between home and school are vital in ensuring the needs of all pupils are met. We warmly welcome and actively encourage all Parents and Carers to be partners with the staff at STFS, enabling us to deliver the best, and most appropriate, pastoral care and support to our pupils. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Form Tutor, as the first port of call, with any concerns you may have.
Julie Smith is our Specialist Support Assistant at STFS. In addition to providing first aid and medical assistance within the school, she also welcomes seeing any pupils who may have any wellbeing or mental health concerns. Julie is able to sign post and/or refer pupils and parents to further specialist services if necessary, as well as being an additional member of the pastoral team.
We do offer a professional counselling service within school. Pupils will need to be referred by a member of staff, generally their Form Tutor or Learning Leader, or alternatively by Julie Smith, Specialist Support Assistant. The referral will be assessed by Leah Martindale, Senior Assistant Head and our counsellor, Katrina Wilson-Smith. Appointments will be offered, if considered appropriate, upon availability and also a priority basis.
More recently Buckinghamshire was selected to be one of the first ‘Trailblazer’ sites in the UK aiming to transform young people’s mental health. STFS is one of only forty schools initially recruited to take part within the county. This is a Government funded project which aims to roll out across the country over the next few years. NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working alongside Buckinghamshire County Council and Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust in the county, to create two dedicated Mental Health Support Teams. These Mental Health Support Teams are made up of a range of health and care professionals who can respond to mental health concerns pupils may experience. They will build upon support already in place from Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector, to offer timely assessments and interventions for pupils in need, treating those with mild to moderate mental health issues in school. If pupils have more severe needs, the teams can link smoothly to specialist NHS services at Buckinghamshire CAMHS and ensure they get the right support and treatment as quickly as possible. Referrals need to be made by school staff. If you feel that either of these services could benefit your child, please do contact Julie Smith to discuss further.
There are many useful resources available to pupils and parents to help support emotional wellbeing and mental health. Please see the recommended links below which you and/or your child may find useful tools to provide support and understanding of often difficult issues, as well as helping your child to build resilience in their everyday life.
Some useful links
Anna Freud – UK National Centre for Children and Families with mental health difficulties https://www.annafreud.org/media/7223/secondary-parents-leaflet-final-proofed.pdf https://www.annafreud.org/parents/resources-for-parents-by-parents/
Young Minds - UK’s leading charity committed to improving emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/
STEM4 - Aims to improve teenage mental health by stemming commonly occurring mental health issues at an early age www.stem4.org.uk
Mind - National Mental Health charity www.mind.org.uk
National Self Harm Network - Support for individuals who self-harm with the aim to reduce emotional distress and improve their quality of life www.nshn.co.uk
Beat – Information and support on all aspects of eating disorders www.b-eat.co.uk
Bucks CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) – Details of a range of local services, information about referrals, including self-referrals for 16 and 17 year olds as well as emergency help. https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/