I worked in a school last week, taking an assembly on well-being and mental heath to Key Stage Two children. Aside from the assembly going well as the children were engaged, what was particularly interesting was the feedback I received from one teacher.
He said what he liked about the assembly was that I had connected the different elements that make up mental health. The school had been teaching the children about sleeping well, eating well and talking about problems etc., but they had not addressed all the areas I mentioned. They all fall under the same umbrella of ‘mental health’ and are all connected or inter-twined.
The assembly mentioned the following key things I believe are essentail to good well-being…
The 7 Key Elements for Well-Being
- Friendships and interaction with others
- How we feel about ourselves
I talked about each element in detail before showing the children that if you don’t look after all of these things then it can have a knock on effect on your mental health. For example, if your friendships are not great you may feel lonely and that you don’t fit in. Worrying about it may affect your sleep, what you eat as you turn to comfort food which will change how you feel about yourself. If you don’t sleep well. you may be grumpy with your friends and want to eat more rubbish to give you a temporary boost.
I can’t believe I have not written about this before and think it is valuable that we teach our children this. Mental health is not just talking about problems and your worries, it is about looking after your mind, body and making sure that the right people are around you when you need them. It is about protecting your feelings and practising self-care. It is about getting the balance right in life and learning to be resilient.
Mental health is such a large area, let’s teach our children the fundamentals and that it is a combination of elements not just one or two.