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St Mark’s Primary School

"'Let Your Light Shine' Matthew 5:16"

Mental Health

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.

At St Mark’s we are committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for all our pupils, we understand the importance of supporting mental health and well-being.


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 focuses specifically on developing children’s social and emotional skills which can prevent poor mental health from developing and help all children cope effectively with setbacks and remain healthy. It is about helping children to understand and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and build skills that help them to thrive, such as working in a team, persistence, resilience and self-awareness.

Our whole school approach consists of a range of strategies to promote positive mental health and well-being, including:

  • Mental health education
  • Positive school culture
  • Access to support
  • Staff well-being
  • Partnerships with mental health organisations
  • Well-being activities


By adopting a whole school approach to mental health, we aim to create a nurturing and supportive environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to prioritise their mental well-being.



At St Mark’s Primary school children have the opportunity to become a Mental Health Champion for 2 terms during the school year. This involves:

  1. Learning about what Mental Health is.
  2. Promote mental health and well-being within their class.
  3. Litter picking.
  4. Take part in visiting our local assisted living centre.
  5. Improve mental health and well-being support at St Mark’s
  6. Take part, create, and support activities for Mental health UK and Anti-bullying campaigns.
  7. Take part in whole school assemblies.
  8. Learn mindfulness and strategies to help feel calm as well as grounding techniques.
  9. Share learning with their class.


Therapy Dog

We are supper lucky at St Mark’s to also be able to offer weekly dog therapy.


    Mrs Nicholls                              Mrs Morley  


Benefits of having a therapy dog in school:


  • Helps promote children’s self-esteem.
  • Teaches appropriate dog safety.
  • Promotes positive behaviour.
  • Offers unique tailored 1:1 Emotional literacy.
  • Promotes reading.
  • Provides a safe calm place to talk about past trauma.
  • Support children’s social skills.
  • Lowers stress levels, provides tactile stimulation and encourages well-being.

St Mark’s 1:1 dog therapy sessions


Jess has recently carried out ELSA sessions with our school ELSA Miss Coldwell. This entailed Jess being part of individual plans to support children with emotional literacy, in areas such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Selective mutism
  • Friendship problems
  • Past trauma
  • Negative behaviours
  • School non-attenders
  • Stealing


These sessions have been very successful in reinforcing techniques and coping strategies with children that have completed previous ELSA sessions.


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/longer period – this may be in the form of a daily check-in with a class grown-up, access to support from the school learning mentor or planned sessions with school ELSA (Emotional Support Learning Assistant). Children are offered time to talk through what they are feeling and given support in developing ways of moving forward.



10 Children's Mental Health Week Activities | Cosmic Kids

Mental Health Games and Activities Pack | Resources | Twinkl

feelings-activities.pdf (



Don’t forget to also look after your own mental health!

Parenting and mental health - Mind

As parents, taking care of your mental health is vital in order to support your children and their education. We understand that parenting can be challenging, especially is these uncertain times.


At St Mark’s we are committed to providing support for parents to help ensure the well-being of the whole family.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and prioritise your mental health.


Support for you

  • Your GP is there to help you with your mental health and your physical health. You can ask them about local services that could offer support and advice. It may be helpful to make a list of the questions you’d like to ask in advance.
  • Some voluntary mental health organisations and family charities may be able to help. Some offer online counselling, drop-in groups and specific support for parents. About parenting and family support | North Somerset Online Directory (

 Parents Helpline for free on 0808 802 5544


Organisations that can help

Anna Freud
Provides information for parents and carers to help you support a child and look after yourself. 


Supports children and young people, and their parents and carers, including with mental health problems.


Carers Trust
Information and support for people caring for someone else.



0800 1111
Support for children and young people in the UK, including a free helpline and 1-2-1 online chats with counsellors.


Citizens Advice

0800 144 8848 (England Adviceline)
0800 702 2020 (Wales Adviceline)
18001 0800 144 8884 (textphone)
Free, confidential information and advice on your rights, including money, housing, experiences of discrimination and other problems.


Family Action

0808 802 6666
Supports families of any kind, including with mental health problems.


Family Lives

0808 800 2222
Information and support for parents and families.


Family Rights Group

0808 801 0366
Supports families whose children are in need, at risk or are in the care system.



0808 802 0925
Advice and practical support for single parent families.


Support for families with young children, including details of local services.



0300 123 7015
Information for kinship carers.


Online network aimed at parents and parents-to-be, including online forums and details of local groups.



116 123 (freephone)

Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).