Good Mental Health and Resilience
Mental Health Information & Support Directory
Our mental health team is led by Mr Jordan, Mrs Evans and Mrs Cooper. They are assisted by Ella Baldwin (Senior Prefect) and student volunteers known as mind mentors.
All students complete a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) at the start of the school year. This is a widely used mental health measurement which enables us to decide upon and direct them towards the appropriate support. They also receive a mental health card which contains details of important sources of support – they add the names of trusted adults in their lives to this card.
For most students, the ability to identify and talk to these trusted adults will be sufficient to help them maintain a good state of mental health.
Self Help Guidance
The first step for students experiencing issues with mental health is to identify strategies which they can use to help address that presenting issue. We present below links to self-help guides covering a range of issues. These are produced by the local Schools Partnership support programme (Gade Schools Family Support) using experience and expertise developed as a result of years spent working closely and effectively with local families. They are designed to be used independently, either by students themselves or with their families. In addition, we direct students towards helpful websites and applications. Should you require any help with this guidance, please contact Mrs Cooper – she would also be interested in any feedback you may have so that we can continue to offer the most helpful resources.
|Crisis and Emergencies
NHS – Emergency Call: 999 24/7, professional health advice call 111.
Police – Emergency Call: 999 24/7, non-emergencies call 101.
Samaritans – Call: 116 123 – a confidential emotional support service available 24 hours a day.
Childline – Call: 0800 1111 – a counselling service for parents, children & young people.
A trusted adult is someone that you have a good relationship with. It is someone who you think has your best interests in mind and with whom you feel safe. Your trusted adult may be someone at school or it may be someone outside of school. You can have more than one trusted adult – indeed, at the start of the year, we asked you to nominate three. You have a right to choose your trusted adults
Your trusted adult:
- can talk to you about any concerns or worries that you have and help you to do something about them.
- could support you to talk to other people about your concerns or worries.
- should be someone that you have regular contact with.
While most students can maintain good levels of mental health through self-help and trusted adults, some need more focused and regular support. At The Hemel Hempstead School the first level of such support is provided by trained student volunteers known as ‘Mind Mentors’. Training is provided by the school’s Mental Health First Aider and therefore reflects the best in current national practice. Being closer in age to the students they are working with, these volunteers can relate well to them – in many cases, for example, they have experienced the issues affecting mental health themselves in the very recent past. In addition, as non-professionals, they can often build up a closer relationship with students which allow the latter to feel comfortable, trust and talk about issues which might not feel so comfortable with adults.
While most students can maintain good levels of mental health through self-help and trusted adults, some need more focused and regular support. At The Hemel Hempstead School the second level of such support is provided by an experienced and dedicated team of staff known as mentors. Students’ mental health is assessed at the start of the school year and those with ‘abnormal’ scores are high priorities for this level of support. Others in this category include students have who have had four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), those who have experienced domestic abuse and those at risk of self-harm. As a rule, students meet their mentor weekly during registration time with termly reassessment of their needs.
Mental Health First Aider
A Mental Health First Aider is a trained individual who can recognise the crucial warning signs and symptoms of poor mental health in young people and can guide a young person to the appropriate support. Please note that the Mental Health First Aider is not a therapist, counsellor or clinician. We consider the role to be analogous to physical health first aiders. Thus, the Mental Health First Aider acts as the first point of contact and advises an appropriate course of action, whether that be GP appointment, presentation to Accident and Emergency or referral to mentors and counsellors. Similarly, to physical health first aiders, the Mental Health First Aider would generally be seen in an emergency, but it is also possible to book appointments via Student Services
We have two fully trained, highly experienced counsellors on staff. They have weekly appointments with students who present with the most serious mental health needs. In some cases, it has not been possible to meet these students’ needs at lower levels of mental health support and, as a result, these students have been ‘stepped up’ In other cases, students are referred for counselling on the basis of specific needs which are appropriate to this level of support. We see the school counselling as an incredibly precious resource and, as such, it is reserved for those students are represent the highest priority for us in terms of their mental health needs. The counsellors are highly effective in reviewing and assessing these needs – students will continue on the counselling list as long as they require counselling but no longer.
Some students require support with mental health issues which go beyond what the school can offer. In these cases, a referral is generally made to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) by the student’s GP. In some cases, the school may make the referral. Students may also be referred to other outside agencies depending on need.