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Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 

This week marks Mental Health Awareness week, its aim is to provide space to have open conversations about mental health, raise awareness and challenge stigma. The theme surrounding this year’s week is Loneliness. 

Ms Perks began the week in Senior School hosting a Morning Meeting on the link between dopamine, a brain chemical that influences your mood and feelings, and mobile phones. Although a valuable communication tool mobile phones and social media can often lead us to feeling low or even lonely. Ms Perks spoke of the need to make a habit of checking our phones less frequently and not relying on social media but to instead get that sense of happiness from face-to-face interactions with people. She encouraged the girls to have conversations with friends and families and challenged them to reduce their screen time this week! 

Mental Health and Wellbeing 

As experts in educating girls and supporting their mental health, at The Mount we continually look to new ways to help boost girls’ wellbeing and mental health. In our last ISI inspection The Mount was praised for our approach to girls’ mental health, the report noted “Pupils know when to seek help; they described with great warmth the mental health  support  they  receive  from  medical  staff.” 

Mindful Mount 

The  Mount’s  approach  to  wellbeing begins  with  the Quaker   values;   simplicity,   truth,   equality,   peace   and   social justice. These core values help instil the girls with a sense of calmness and community. The Quaker practice of silent Meetings, or rather ‘gathered stillness, has been part of The Mount’s ethos since the School’s inception in 1785. Today we continue to take time to come together as  a  community  to  be  still,  to  think  and  to  reflect. Many people compare this to the idea of mindfulness. 

In recent years mindfulness has become a trend linked to promoting improved health and wellbeing. Studies show that mindfulness can help with a myriad of things, including stress and anxiety*. At  its  most  basic  concept,  mindfulness  is  the  quality  of  being  conscious  or  awareIt  is  associated  heavily  with  quiet,  breathing  techniques  and  meditation;  therefore,  silent  meetings  can  undoubtedly  be  associated  with  mindfulness.  

Junior School pupils also benefit from Mindfulness and Meditation. This term we launched a lunchtime Meditation Club, allowing girls the time to relax and take time out to release  worries  and help  to  cultivate a sense of peace. The theme of the club this week was ‘Agree to Disagree’. The half hour session began with a sensitive discussion on how to listen to other people’s opinions and to value that that they may not always be the same as yours but does not mean you are not friends. The girls then laid in a comfy position and focussed on their breathing in a 20 minute meditation session. When asked how they felt at the end of the session ‘calm’, ‘relaxed’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘tired!’ were some of the answers.  

Cindy  Magyar, the School Nurse, is herself an avid supporter of the Mindfulness and the positive effects it has on mental health. “Meditation and mindfulness is becoming widely acknowledged and scientifically validated as a powerful tool  in  supporting  mental  health*”  she  statesNurse  Cindy   teaches   Health   &   Well-being   within   the   PSHE   curriculum  and  incorporates  Mindfulness  and  meditation  into  these  sessions.   

At  the  core  of  our  education  we  endeavour  to  teach  our  young  learners  with  character  traits  that  will  help  them  become  more  resilient  in  the  worldTraits  such  as:  perseverance  and  grit,  confidence  and  optimism,  drive  and  ambition,  community  spirit  and  toleranceThese characteristics closely resemble those that studies suggest  mindfulness  can  help  deliver.   


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