Mental health seminar series to support transition back to school

Published 22nd Jun 2020 by Emma Sinfield

Leeds Beckett University has launched a seminar series in partnership with Bupa UK Foundation to support the mental health of staff and pupils transitioning back to school following the coronavirus outbreak.

The online seminars are now freely available to all school leaders, as hundreds of education settings across England have started to welcome back Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 after months in lockdown.

It’s hoped the six pre-recorded seminars will help combat mental health challenges which may arise and assist as staff and pupils are reintegrated back into school and college life.

Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, which is part of LBU’s Carnegie School of Education, collaborated with Bupa UK Foundation to help educators at this critical time.

The first seminar explores the questions that need to be asked of staff, coaching tips for having conversations around emotions and feelings about returning physically, and communication to staff.

Further seminars look at a three-step plan of action to support staff in the longer-term, practical strategies to support pupils through the pandemic, and emerging evidence from within the UK to assist school leaders in identifying the increase in vulnerable pupils.

Professor Damien Page (pictured), Dean of The Carnegie School of Education at LBU, said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Bupa UK Foundation to provide a series of free seminars and resources for all school leaders to support the mental health and wellbeing of both staff and pupils.”

Staff and pupils will be faced with many changes to school life when they return which may impact mental health such as a ‘bubble’ system, no soft furnishings, and new-look classrooms.

Dean Johnstone, CEO of Minds Ahead, said:

“There is a significant risk of mental harm to our children and young people. This is worse still for those relying on support to help them to cope. Yet, we have also seen great resilience, community spirit and generosity.

“School and college staff have relentlessly been on the front line, having to make challenging decisions and adapt their school into radically different settings, providing excellent community leadership which have, in some cases, saved lives, and kept families safe.

“These seminars help schools and colleges to understand the likely mental health challenges that may arise and how to prepare for them, as well as the steps that they can take to foster resilience and celebrate the strong sense of community that has come through so powerfully in the last few months.”

Anna Russell, Director Bupa UK Foundation said:

“The Bupa UK Foundation funds and provides practical projects for better wellbeing and this includes our free Wellbeing for Educators programme.

“We’re delighted to work with the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools to help educators at this critical time.”

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