At Horton Kirby Church of England Primary School, we firmly believe that children have a better chance of succeeding academically when their essential needs are met. Therefore, our school’s entire approach is to ensure that their mental health and wellbeing is prioritised. In order to effectively achieve this, we are partnering with the NELFT, an NHS program that provides an extensive range of integrated community and mental health services. We aim to not only provide support for the children, but also their parents so that they feel supported to play their part in the home.
Meet our Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead
Mrs Holden has a passion for supporting children with their wellbeing and mental health. In 2019 she completed her NPQSL where she specialised in researching how to support and improve wellbeing in a primary school. This has led to the development of quiet areas in classrooms, building learning power being introduced throughout the school to promote resilience and a sensory room being made in our conservatory.
Following on from this, Mrs Holden has promoted the trailblazing team to work with families and children who need some support. Having a team from the NHS working with us to support and advise has been welcomed.
In 2021, Mrs Holden trained to become the Senior Mental Health Lead for our school. Training assures that all staff are aware of how to identify needs and where to get support. In 2022, she trained as a Mental Health First Aider to support not only the children but all stakeholders at Horton Kirby.
We are exceptionally lucky to have Honey, our wellbeing dog. She is in school every day and takes part in our interventions.
Jenny Holden • Mental Health & Wellbeing Lead
What is Mental Health?
Just like physical health, everyone has a scale on which their mental health sits. This often moves around and sometimes our mental health is good and other times it slips down and is lower on the scale. There are lots of reasons this may happen such as stress, bereavement or illness and sometimes it declines and we don’t know why. When we feel our mental health, or that of our children, is declining it is really important to seek advice and help just as you would if you were physically poorly. We have included some helpful links on this page that may be a good starting point
What does our school’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Program look like?
Horton Kirby Primary is a Trailblazer school for working with the NHS Mental Health Practitioners. They offer parent workshops about all types of Mental Health issues and include behaviour, ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Autism and sleep and Resilience workshops too. The Mental Health Practitioners also come in to the school to work with the children. These workshops include friendships for year 4 and for transition for our year 6 children.
If a child is deemed to be needing more than what we offer with Mental Health support in school, the Mental Health Practitioners offer 1:1 support with a child which can be done in school or with the parent.
We have calm corners in classrooms and corridors helping children to self regulate and have somewhere to go when they are feeling anxious or sad. We also have nurture club, wellbeing club as well us, our school dog, Honey, who is used for interventions.
Online Counselling and Support
MindFresh is an App and a website designed to meet the growing need for better communication and support in children and young mental and emotional healthcare. Click here for more details.
Togetherall – The heart of Togetherall is its community of members, who support, help each other and share what’s troubling them in a safe and anonymous environment. The site is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can find support simply by signing up here.
Kooth offers emotional and mental health support to 11-19 year olds (or 25 with SEND). Young people choose an avatar and can have ‘drop in’ chats with a counsellor or therapist, book a 1:1 session, or talk to other young people anonymously by clicking here.
Childline is a counselling service for children and young people up to their 19th birthday in the United Kingdom provided by the NSPCC. Get help and advice about a wide range of issues, talk to a counsellor online, call us on 0800 1111, send Childline an email, or post on the message boards here.
Apps and Websites for Wellbeing Skills and Support
WYSA (Google Play/Apple store) – an ’emotionally intelligent’ penguin that learns to react to the emotions you express. Over time it gets to know you better and proactively reaches out to help you. It uses evidence-based CBT techniques to help you feel better. You can chat with WYSA using text and photo responses.
Headspace is a site which uses meditation and mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety. Click here to find out more about the app.
Pacifica gives you psychologist-designed tools to address stress, anxiety, and depression based on CBT, mindfulness, relaxation, and mood/health tracking. Calm down in moments of stress or anxiety using deep breathing, muscle relaxation, positive visualization, mindfulness meditations, and more (Google Play/Apple store)
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids is a mindful games app designed for kids age 5-10. Kids can check how they are feeling using emojis and try mindful meditations around those emotions. Stickers reward progress and keep mindful activities engaging. (Google Play/Apple store)
A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems. Carers Trust helps young carers to cope with their caring role through specialised services across the UK. Click here to learn more.
The National Autistic Society is the leading UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and
Society their families. More information here.
The Kent Autistic Trust provides confidential support, reliable information, practical advice and emotional support, to families, parents/carers, professionals and individuals affected by autism across
Kent and Medway.
Contact: Jo Blamires (Family Support Officer)
01634 405168 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Beams is a local charity that supports disabled children, young people and their families via advice, short breaks and direct
payments. Click here for more • 01322 668501
Are you, or is a young person you know, not coping with life? For confidential suicide prevention advice contact:
Zero Suicide Alliance is a collaboration of NHS trusts, businesses and individuals who are committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. The alliance raises awareness and provides free suicide prevention training at: Zero Suicide Alliance Website
Holding On Letting Go is a Kent-based charity that helps children to cope with the death of someone close to them.
Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We offer support, advice and information when someone dies and work to enhance society’s care of bereaved people.
Cruse Bereavement Care Website • 0808 808 1677
Slide Away offers support to children and young people in West Kent who have been bereaved of a family member or friend. We also support children and young people who have a parent or sibling with a life limiting illness • Slide Away Website