This project has now been completed, and the final project report is now available. For an introduction to the project from the preliminary stages, see below.
The development of a mentally flourishing school in Hawick High will provide an environment that not only encourages learning but is warm and friendly; promoting cooperation, open communication and providing creative and equal opportunities. It is healthy and safe and supports the social, emotional and psychological well-being of teachers, learners and their families. Ultimately it facilitates all young people in that environment being ‘Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included’.
The evidence and rationale that led to this project arose from data from a community profile of Hawick (2014) highlighting increasing concerns regarding young people’s social and emotional well-being, subsequent health behaviours and difficulties in School. This profile also highlighted below national and local average attainment outcomes. Hawick has a data zone which is amongst the 5% of the most deprived areas in Scotland. It is estimated that in excess of 40% of School Nurse time is spent responding to mental health issues and anxiety (Egan 2013). Mental health directly impacts children’s’ learning and development and is not simply the absence of illness. It also means having the knowledge and skills to cope with life’s challenges. Pupils’ families’, schools and society at large benefit when schools meet the needs of the whole child by fostering social and emotional skills and identifying and preventing mental health problems. Half of all mental health disorders begin before the age of 14, supporting the promotion of emotional well-being in Young People to reduce incidence and protect future generations from mental illness.
This project is a collaborative venture with stakeholders including representatives from health, community learning and development, Penumbra Youth Project, Integrated Children’s Services, Pupils, Teaching staff, parents, CAMHS, LGBT, chaplain, Queen Margaret University and SBC/NHS mental health services planning officer. An action and implementation plan steers the project work and this funding will be used to implement phase 3 of the project focusing on evaluation and a project report with actions around the following themes:
- Positive health and wellbeing of school community.
- Education: knowledge attitudes & behaviour.
- Appropriate resources & interventions.
- Improved connections with parents & partners.
Actions include the following: having Information Boards regarding resources and services displayed in the school, stress sessions for staff, action Learning Sets for staff, on-going Steering group and Health and wellbeing group meetings, Standardised training/learning events for pupils and staff (e.g. mental health first aid training), parental and pupil voice via council meetings and evaluation process, TAMFS embedded in Whole School Improvement plan, a Market Place Event to promote engagement / approach and the use of an anti-bullying online resource for pupils. Intended impact and outcomes include:
- Greater well-being and happiness.
- Improved sense of belonging and better quality of life.
- Better levels of academic achievement.
- Reduced bullying, harassment, injury, truancy and absenteeism.
- Diminished stereotyping, prejudice, fear, anxiety, depression and loss of motivation.
- A sound foundation for positive health in adulthood.