Event held at Sheffield school to promote awareness of mental health and well-being

Pupils at a secondary school in Sheffield have taken part in a host of activities aimed at encouraging them to look after their emotional and physical well-being.

By Alana Roberts
Monday, 20 May, 2019, 14:09
Health and Wellbeing Day at Bents Green School in Sheffield. Brodie O'Brien, 12, and Oran Morris, 11, at a art class.

Bents Green School, in Ringinglow Road, scrapped the scheduled timetable on Friday, May 17, to host the specialist curriculum day centred around mental health and well-being.

The students, who all have autism spectrum disorder as well as other neurological difficulties, were each given a tailored programme of activities in a bid to encourage emotional regulation and promote positive thinking. 

Health and Wellbeing Day at Bents Green School in Sheffield. Yoga class with Jo Warburton.

Both students and staff started the day off with a healthy balanced breakfast before taking part in the daily mile around the school grounds, in which they could either walk or run.

They were then given the opportunity to take part in a number of activities, with everything from Theraplay – used to enhance attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement – to sex education and art workshops. 

Other activities included Boxercise, with Sheffield gym owner and former European boxing champion Ross Burkinshaw, children’s yoga sessions with Jo Warburton and lessons on good dental hygiene. 

Health and Wellbeing Day at Bents Green School in Sheffield. Boxercise class with Ross Burkinshaw.

The children were also visited by the Shine Bus, a community health bus offering programmes to manage obesity.

During this time they were given the chance to discuss different types of foods and fat and sugar contents in various snacks and drinks and taught how to read nutritional labels in order to make healthier choices before preparing and making their own healthy smoothies.

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The event also coincided and marked the end to Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, a national initiative held every year to educate and increase awareness about mental illness.

Health and Wellbeing Day at Bents Green School in Sheffield. Coney Shaw doing a fitness test.

Deputy Headteacher Claire Bailey said mental health and well-being is something that is ‘woven’ into the fabric of what makes Bent’s Green School.

She added: “As it was mental health awareness week it was about using the opportunity to raise awareness about being fit, well and healthy. 

“Obviously as a specialist school lots of our students struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders so it is about teaching them emotional regulation to prevent these and it is about being proactive in our approach to promote positive lifestyle choices.

Health and Wellbeing Day at Bents Green School in Sheffield. Yoga class with Jo Warburton.

“In the school we also have a very thorough PSHE curriculum and have mental health intervention workers who work with our children.”

There will also be a training event for staff members next month to encourage them to look after their own mental health and provide greater support for their students.