At Nova Primary school, the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils, families and staff is of great importance to us. Through our curriculum and graduated response, we offer a wide range of opportunities for children to develop self-help skills so that they grow to be able to independently manage their wellbeing. By working together, we hope to encourage children, their families and our entire school community to be their own mental health and wellbeing engineers, building in opportunities to support one another. 

Below, you will find a range of resources, strategies and suggestions of ways that could support your child and your families’ wellbeing outside of school.

Nova’s 5 steps to healthy wellbeing

Nova’s “SMILE” initiative is inspired by the NHS 5 steps to mental wellbeing. These are evidence-based strategies and proven to support the development of positive mental health and wellbeing. Everyone interprets these in their own personal ways but here are some suggestions for each of the 5 steps that you could have a go at:

Step 1: Socialise

  • Talk to others: a friend, a teacher, a family member, a work colleague or a neighbour. It’s important to make time for quality conversation
  • Listen to others. By offering you support to others, you will feel a personable connection that supports positive emotions
  • Arrange a time to meet a friend who you haven’t seen in a while. You could go to the park for a picnic, go for a walk or a bike ride
  • Volunteer at your local school, food bank or community group

Step 2: Move

  • Search online to access some free fitness activities
  • Go for a walk
  • Join a local sports team
  • Take part in after school clubs
  • Follow the free NHS couch to 5K app
  • Dance like nobody is watching!

Step 3: Interest

  • Play “I Spy” on your way to school
  • Try sitting outside and listing everything you hear in a 2-minute period
  • Listen to a mindfulness guided meditation session
  • Working from your toes to your head, take notice of how your body feels
  • Tune into your senses: what can you smell? What can you taste?
  • Try some new foods and notice how they taste and how your body reacts

Step 4: Learn

  • Follow a new recipe or try some baking
  • Have a go at a homework challenge
  • Investigate what clubs run in your local area such as scouts or brownies; you can learn lots of great life skills there!
  • Try taking up a new regular hobby like a sport, writing a daily diary or painting

Step 5: Engage

  • Say thank you for something someone has done for you
  • Offer to help a friend with their homework/a project
  • Volunteer in your local community
  • Invite a friend ‘round for dinner
  • Donate unwanted or unused items to charity
  • Challenge yourself to a random act of kindness

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness means paying full attention to something and embracing the present moment. It means slowing down to really notice what you’re doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time. You’re focusing in a relaxed, easy way.

There are lots of free resources on the internet that can give you some great ideas of how you could develop some mindful practices regularly at home. Below are just some of these:

  • This website has a wide variety of ideas to begin and develop regular mindfulness at home
  • Headspace” is an app and a website co-created by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. There is a free trial available but a subscription will incur costs.

Try this mindfulness breathing exercise video to help you feel calm and present. Take a deep breath in and a long exhale out – it feels good doesn’t it?

You might also want to try this guided meditation from “Peace out”. They have lots of guided meditation videos on YouTube.

Where can I get support as a parent/carer?

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is a Children’s mental health charity. They created a fantastic short booklet providing parents with advice on how to talk about mental health and wellbeing at home, even with the youngest school-aged children.

There is a lot of information and support services available out in our community and nationally, but sometimes you need to know where to go. Below is a list of local and national support services that may be able to provide parents/carers with some further support for your child, or for yourself.

If you ever have concerns about your child’s mental health and wellbeing, please speak to their class teacher in the first instance. We want to work together and communication is the key. From here, we can discuss how best to support individual children as needed.

For Children:

  • Bristol Mind provides useful links to a large range of mental health support in Bristol for children and young adults
  • Young Minds is the UK’s leading Mental Health charity that offers support for children, as well as advice for parents
  • Cosmic Kids is a fantastic online source of fun and engaging Yoga and Mindfulness videos to help children enjoy physical, emotional and mental health benefits. You can find their YouTube channel here
  • Place2Be is a charity that aim to improve children’s mental health by working with schools. It has lots of great resources and information that you may find useful
  • The NHS “Every Mind Matters” shares some advice on supporting children’s mental health
  • Action for Children shares some great resources and ideas on supporting children’s mental health
  • Anna Freud offers a range of support for Children’s mental health, including a youth wellbeing directory

For Children aged 11+

  • Bristol Mind provides useful links to a large range of mental health support in Bristol for children and young adults
  • Off The Record (OTR) is a Bristol Based organisation that offers mental health support to children aged 11+
  • Young Minds is the UK’s leading Mental Health charity that offers support for children, as well as advice for parents
  • Mind is a national mental health charity that can offer a range of advice for parents and carers on how to support young children, as themselves
  • The Mix offers support to people under 25 for anything from mental health to money, homelessness and break-ups.
  • Kooth offer free, online mental wellbeing support

For Adults:

  • Bristol Mental Health shares a list of a wide range of support services both locally and nationally, for a range of issues
  • Bristol mental Health Crisis Service provides 24 hours a day, 7 days per week support. You can refer yourself or anyone you are worried about
  • The NSPCC offers advice for parents and carers on keeping children safe
  • The NHS provides advice on how to improve mental wellbeing
  • Bristol City Council offers a range of parenting courses to support that are currently running in Bristol. Please contact the organisers using the e-mail addresses provided through this link
  • The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families Offers a wide range of support for parents and carers on supporting mental health
  • National Online Safety offers a breadth of interactive services to support parenting, mental health and wellbeing
  • Family Lives offers support for parents on mental health, relationships, bullying, development and more.
  • Nextlink provides support for anyone experiencing domestic abuse, as well as providing women’s mental health support
  • Womankind is a Bristol based charity offering support for women who may be struggling with their mental health. You can self-refer or speak to someone online or over the phone
  • VitaMinds is a free and confidential NHS service offering support for any adult who may be struggling with their mental health. You can self-refer and access support 24/7 online
  • North Bristol Foodbank: if you are struggling with money and feeding yourself and your family, please contact the school who will be able to discuss making a confidential referral for you