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MHAW: Meet your Mental Health Lead

MHAW: Meet your Mental Health Lead

We support Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) and while prioritising mental health is more than just a week, it really is all year round and for the rest of your life, MHAW is a great way to kick-start the conversation again.

Your mental health is a number one priority, it’s as important as your physical health, which is why here at Cedar we have Barbara Langiano. Ms. Langiano is our SENCo and mental health lead.

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Where can students find you in school?

Usually in my office next to the computer suite

Are you available to parents too, for advice on how to talk to their children?

Available to parents, as this very much part of the SENCo role anyway and happy to give information and support where I can

What does mental health mean to you?

The current state of your wellbeing and mind.  Mental health can be both positive and negative, and can change over time.  It is not fixed.

How important is it that schools are aware of mental health and why?

It has always been very important that schools are aware of the mental health of both children and staff.  Any mental health problems can have a huge impact upon the person experiencing them, making it difficult for them to function in everyday life.  Obviously if a pupil is experiencing mental health issues this will greatly impact their ability to learn at school and make and maintain friendships, which could in turn lead to diminished life chances in the future.  At this particular point in time, with the pandemic over the last year or so,  it is more important than ever that we recognise and then support children with any difficulties they may be experiencing.

How do you help your students with mental health?

How we help pupils with their mental health- The school ethos and environment is set up for children to maintain and foster good mental health and wellbeing. There are ways in which children are able to express their emotions and key adults that they know they can talk too. We have a range of visual flow maps which show the children how to report any concerns they have about the mental health of  themselves or a friend. We have a set of Cedar attributes that we look out for and children are acknowledged for showing these in assemblies.

DISCOVER: Our Award for Mental Health

There are many opportunities through PSHE, RSE curriculum and through assemblies for children to develop the knowledge and understanding of how to maintain healthy lifestyles, which supports good mental health.
For more targeted support we are lucky enough to have a trained Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) who will work with particular identified children to support them in improving aspects of their mental health e.g. how to show feelings in appropriate ways.  For children who show a high level of difficulty with their mental health and emotions then we are able to refer them to see a play or art therapist or, where appropriate, make a referral to CAMHS.