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St Gabriel’s

St Gabriel’s

Mental Health Awareness Week

In this time of crisis, it has never been more important to take care of our mental wellbeing and look out for others. At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 we thought it might be useful to collate some of the many resources available to support young people at this time. The theme this year is 'Kindness' and the importance of being kind to one another and to yourself is a regular message in Mr Smith's assemblies.

The school's counsellor, Kelly,  our school nurse, Jen, as well as tutors, Heads of School and teaching staff are all happy to listen and talk with pupils. Older pupils have access to a range of resources, including mindfulness, on Unifrog  with many more accessible using their personal login details.

‘Never has it been more important to look after yourself, think positively and set yourself goals – if Captain (soon to be Sir) Tom Moore can do it we can all do it!’

Mrs Chapman, Vice-Principal

Earlier in the term, Year 9 & Year 10 pupils collaborated with Mrs Hammons to produce this excellent A-Z on their ways to maintain good mental health in lockdown.


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The Mental Health Foundation's Coping with coronavirus: A guide young for people gives tips for older pupils, including suggestions such as accessing free online courses provided by The Skills Toolkit and Future Learn  in a wide range of subjects, to help them stay motivated in this period of uncertainty. 

For younger children there are a range of useful resources about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it. They include Coronavirus - A book for children, a digital download for primary school age children illustrated by Axel Scheffler (Gruffalo), which is freely available for anyone to read on screen or print out. The book has had expert input from Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and from two head teachers and a child psychologist. This book puts children in the picture rather just watching it happen and aims to ​​​​​​answer key questions in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds:

  • What is the coronavirus?
  • How do you catch the coronavirus?
  • What happens if you catch the coronavirus?
  • Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus?
  • Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
  • Why are some places we normally go to closed?
  • What can I do to help?
  • What’s going to happen next?

Dave the Dog is Worried about Coronavirus is another book for young children that aims to give information without fear and provide facts in a reassuring and child friendly manner. It was created by Molly Watts, a children's nurse, who has written a number of Nurse Dotty books.

The Children's Guide to Coronavirus produced by the Children's Commissioner is suitable for older children. It aims to answer children’s questions about coronavirus, tell children how to stay safe and protect other people as well as how to help them make the best of their time at home.

Korky Paul, who visited the Junior School last year, has illustrated a new Winnie and Wilbur Stay at Home book which is available for download.

Many of the big charities have also shared useful advice:

Save the Children Coronavirus Advice

UNICEF How talk to your child about coronavirus

NSPCC Advice for Parents

As well as the many resources available on mindfulness and yoga included in the weekly PE timetable, shared with pupils and on Concilium, switching off by listening to online stories is also popular with many pupils.

Roald Dahl's James and The Giant Peach is being read in 10 episodes on YouTube by a range of well known people including Cate Blanchett, Jamie Cullum and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Whilst many Junior School David Walliams fans are catching up with his David Walliams Audio Elevenses  as he is serialising some of his books as well as his occasional Live Reads sessions.

Older readers can access the wealth of e-books available online from  West Berkshire Libraries.

Mental Health Awareness Week