Town Farm is a place for children and young people to experience a nurturing and supportive environment that has the potential to develop self-esteem and give positive experiences for overcoming adversity and building resilience. For some of our pupils, it is a place of respite from difficult home lives and offer positive role models and relationships, which are critical in promoting pupils well-being and can help engender a sense of belonging and community.
In addition to promoting positive mental health, we aim to recognise and respond to mental ill health. Mental Health has been at the forefront of media outlets since the coronavirus pandemic and closure of schools, which has had a profound impact on children and young people’s mental health. In England, the proportion of children and young people with a probable mental health disorder has risen from one in eight in November 2017, up to one in six in July 2020 (Anna Freud, 2021).
A priority is to remove the stigma around mental health. “It is just as important as physical health and not talked about enough. People feel too ashamed to get help and this needs to change.” (Anna Freud, 2021). Staff in schools are valued by students as trusted sources of information and support, with 52% of young people saying they would talk to a member of staff about their concerns. So while schools have made great advances in supporting their students, there is more work to be done to open up conversations about mental health. For those who would seek support from someone in school, they are most likely to turn to a trusted teacher (Anna Freud, 2021).
By developing and implementing practical, relevant and effective mental health policies and procedures we can promote a safe and stable environment for pupils affected both directly, and indirectly by mental ill health.