Mental Health Matters

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Mental Health Matters

Did you know….

  • Half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14?
  • 1 in 5 adolescents will experience a mental health issue in any given year?
  • More than 70% of adolescents’ mental health issues go undetected and untreated?
  • Anxiety and Depression are the most common mental health issues for young people?

10 October is World Mental Health Day. 

On 10 October, our GIS school counselling team will be promoting activities amongst students to challenge the stigma that sometimes surrounds mental health, and try to normalise conversations around our mental wellbeing. During the day, our students will have a chance to reflect on the importance of maintaining meaningful, healthy relationships and how these can support their mental health and wellbeing.

Supporting Mental Health at School – Every Day

It’s not just on the 10th of October that we will be focusing on our children’s mental health. At GIS, we believe that every child’s mental health and wellbeing is as important as their academic progress and achievement – in fact, we know that they can’t achieve well unless they’re feeling good. This concept of ‘academic care’ underpins everything that we do.

Every child at GIS has a support network of adults. Class teachers (EYC and Primary) and Form tutors (Secondary) are always there as a first point of contact if a child needs a friendly, supportive chat. Assistant Heads (Primary) and Heads of Year (Secondary) are also always available. If your child prefers a confidential chat, our experienced and caring counselling team are there to help. Your child can SMS 012-664-7107 at any time to arrange an appointment, or pop in to the Counselling Office during their daily drop-in times: 9.05am for Secondary and 12.20pm for Primary.

Supporting Your Child’s Wellbeing at Home: Top 5 Tips

  1. It’s important that your child knows that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’: that feeling ‘down’, anxious or depressed are not signs of weakness and failure. They are normal!
  2. Show compassion and acceptance. As Mariella Vittetoe-Castillo, Head of Counselling beautifully puts it: “Our children won’t remember how proud we were about achievements or grades – they will remember how much we believed in them”.
  3. Let your child know that you are always there if they ever want to talk. If they’d prefer not to talk to you, encourage them to open up to good friends or another trusting adult. Check – does your child know which adults they can talk to at school if they are feeling anxious, sad or angry? If they aren’t sure, help them come up with a list.
  4. Get to know the language your child uses in school to express his emotional world.If you have an EYC and/or Primary-age child, refer openly to the Zones of Regulation and try to use this language with them at home. The ‘Zones’ help to normalise different feelings and help children to understand and recognise their emotions.
  5. Talk openly about your own feelings (as far as you feel comfortable) and model healthy strategies for coping with the tricky ones. For example, “I’m feeling a little bit stressed today. Exercise always helps me feel better when I’m worried about work. Do you want to come for a bike ride for me?”

If you are ever worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with their class teacher (EYC and Primary) or form tutor (Secondary) in the first instance. You can also touch base with our GIS Counselling team if you’d like any advice about how best to support your child.  

Together, we can help ensure that your child feels safe, supported and able to cope with any challenges that come their way.

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