Schools launch “5 a day” programme to help promote pupils’ mental health

Six secondary schools from across Wiltshire are launching an innovative programme to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

“Thrive”is a programme to support the emotional wellbeing and early intervention in young people’s emerging mental health problems.

The five year programme, funded through national money for transforming children and young people’s mental health and supported by Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, is being piloted at The John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge, The John Bentley School, Calne, Abbeyfield School Chippenham, The Stonehenge School, Amesbury, Matravers School, Westbury and Sarum Academy, Salisbury.

One key strand of the programme is promoting taking care of your mental health with five simple steps the “Thrive 5”: eating well, getting enough sleep, physical exercise, being kind to themselves and talking to friends and family for good mental wellbeing.

Other key strands of the programme are :

  • Support from The Child and Adolescent Mental Health service (CAMHS), including helping teachers spot early signs of mental health concerns
  • A peer mentoring programme
  • Online confidential counselling service available seven days a week
  • Parenting courses
  • Engagement in the Wiltshire Healthy Schools Programme.

This week (19 – 23 September) each school has launched the Thrive Pilot with a range of activities in school focused on positive mental health and promoting the ‘Thrive 5.’ These activities included assemblies, Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE)  lessons and student activities. The week is culminating with a multi school event bringing students from all six schools together to join in five workshops run by supporters of Thrive, from the community and from local agencies. Each workshop is run on one of the Thrive 5 themes.

Alter lunch the students will present a short report on the links they have discovered between their aspect of the Thrive 5 and how it contributes to positive mental health.

The day will end with Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services giving a short talk to the students. This will be followed with a balloon release with the messages of what students hope to achieve through Thrive written on the balloons.

Cllr Mayes said: “Wiltshire Council decided to invest in this key programme as it provides young people with a wide range of support to help them cope with the pressures they can face at secondary school age. Providing targeted support as well as empowering young people to have the tools to help themselves are key parts of this programme and I look forward to seeing this innovative scheme having a real impact in our schools.”

Ted Wilson, Joint Commissioning Director at Wiltshire CCG said:  “We know that more and more children of secondary school age are finding difficulty coping with daily pressures.  The Thrive Programme provides young people with some techniques to help them look after their mental health, and is a positive step in the right direction which we believe will help to make a difference.”

Assistant Head teacher from The John of Gaunt School, Helen Kerr, said:" Schools are often the place where young people feel most secure in asking for support. The Thrive Programme is able to enhance what we were already providing for students, allowing staff to increase their skills and put in place early intervention for students and also help for parents who may find they need extra support when their children face some of the difficulties of being a teenager in todays fast paced and tech saturated world."