Today, Ark is supporting Time to Talk Day (4th February) to get as many people as possible, talking about mental health.
The campaign is organised by Time to Change and aims to change how we all think and act about mental health problems – it’s led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. We have been working with Time to Change for four years to improve the way we talk about mental health across the network.
We have all had different experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic – balancing working from home, home-schooling, being unable to see friends and loved ones, losing people, and going in and out of lockdown. Empowering staff to manage their mental wellbeing is an area we have focused on, and we have provided resources and support to staff who need it.
We have been running regular wellbeing sessions, including HIT classes, yoga, and Pilates, which has helped bring staff together virtually and promote good physical and mental health. We have encouraged and trained managers to check-in with their teams to ensure they are doing ok.
In our schools, mental health support for young people remains one of our priority areas. An assessment undertaken within our secondary schools found that one in seven students struggled with emotional problems such as anxiety and low mood. Our schools have prioritised student wellbeing and are providing targeted mental health support to those that need it. We have worked with Place2Be and Healthy Minds to offer mental health counselling for those in most acute need and develop the skills within schools to spot mental health problems as they occur. We have trained 118 teachers, year heads, pastoral leads, and teaching assistants to increase their understanding across the network.
Joycelyn Thompson, Ark’s Head of Safeguarding said: “We're pleased to be joining the campaign again alongside other organisations, schools and members of the public, who will all be having conversations about mental health on Time to Talk Day. The pandemic has put these all-important conversations at the forefront, so by being open, we can make a big difference to many students, families, staff and the wider school community that we serve.”
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said: “Mental health problems are common and can affect any one of us, yet too often people are afraid to talk openly about mental health for fear of being judged. A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference. The more we talk about it, the better life is for all of us and Time to Talk Day is a chance for everyone to open up – to talk, to listen, to change lives.”
For information about Time to Talk Day visit: www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday
Find out how our schools have been supporting students with their mental health and wellbeing: Protecting student wellbeing