Abbey Hill Academy understands the importance of promoting positive mental health and well-being.
Our Academy Vice Principal, Melissa Fisher is our ‘Mental Health Champion’.
At Abbey Hill we have 11 fully qualified ‘Mental Health First Aiders’.
Nationally, between 25 – 40% of people with Learning Disabilities will experience episodes of poor mental health at some stage in their life. Of these people, 33% are likely to be on the autistic spectrum.
When childhood anxiety is heightened, it is natural for parents to go into protection mode. Parents may attempt to solve problems for the child, help their child avoid triggers of anxiety, and try to create a worry-free lifestyle but this isn’t helpful as stressful situations are a part of life that everyone needs to learn to deal with. Parents cannot protect their children from experiencing anxiety. What they can do is help them learn to manage anxiety and equip them with coping skills.
At Abbey Hill we allow children to worry ‘out loud’ and set aside time to talk through these worries with them. We problem solve together.
We avoid ‘avoidance’ – avoiding triggers of anxiety won’t help children learn to cope. It is better to ‘desensitize’ the anxiety over time taking small steps.
We write the stress or worries down – We create a worry jar and physically deal with each one individually. Then we rip up or bin the worry once it has been discussed.
We practise grounding techniques – breathe in for 7 and out for 12, play with bubbles to regulate breathing or sit down with our hands on our knees, take a few deep breaths and close our eyes – when calmer we ask children to name 5 things they can see, 4 things they can feel, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell, 1 thing they can taste.
If you are worried about your child’s mental health, please contact us in school.