News

How to prevent loneliness in schools

Loneliness is often associated with older age groups but data has shown that young people are more likely to feel lonely than older age groups. So, how can we prevent loneliness in schools, and why is this so important to the mental health of young people?

Alongside the effects that loneliness can have on childrens’ physical health, research shows that loneliness can also be a risk factor for depression and anxiety. Social interactions significantly support positive mental health and give us opportunities to give and receive help when we need it.

What are the signs of loneliness in pupils?

Anyone who interacts with children must be able to recognise when a child is struggling with their mental health and, more significantly, know how to take proper action.

Even if a pupil doesn’t tell you they’re lonely, they may show you signs, for example:

  • They always spend break times at school alone.
  • They aren’t invited to spend time with friends after school.
  • They say they feel sad, or cry often.
  • They spend a lot of time by themselves (although, some children are content to spend a lot of time alone, while others may be part of a large social circle but still feel lonely).

So, what can be done to help our children deal with loneliness? For many, school, and especially teachers, may be a safe haven. They may make kids feel safe and included by offering chances and resources for them to learn and play in a safe setting, as well as practical measures that can be implemented.

At Shawmind, we recommend that anyone who works with children should be well equipped to be that “safe haven”. Our Youth Mental Health Awareness course is an interactive learning session covering various aspects of children and young people’s mental health – from how to identify potential issues, to how you can help and support a young person who may be struggling. Our Headucation campaign works alongside schools to develop a culture shift towards sustainable better mental health and wellbeing – free of charge to the schools.

How to improve awareness and reduce loneliness in schools

A child’s mental health is just as vital as their physical health when it comes to their safety and well-being. It influences every part of their lives, including their academic achievement, relationships, and physical health. It can be difficult for adults to recognise when a child is experiencing loneliness, and it can be tough for young people to speak out about the loneliness difficulties they are dealing with.

Allow school to be a place of real, deep belonging for pupils. Create a sense of community by getting students involved in activities that give them an opportunity to socialise with each other. These activities could include everything from starting yearbook and chess clubs to drama groups and sports teams. Activities that involve community service are also good opportunities for the students to socialise with each other and externally.

Another great idea is normalising the concept of youngsters spending time alone by providing outdoor seating spaces for reading or providing pleasant settings for kids to work in, such as a garden, to celebrate doing individual activities. We should also consider how powerful and potentially harmful talks and stories depicting a “perfect life full of friends” may be, especially for lonely pupils.

Developing young peoples’ communication and emotional literacy skills is important to reduce the impact loneliness will have on mental health. Starting a conversation about mental health and providing books on a variety of mental health topics can be great ways to start the conversation about loneliness and allow pupils to express their feelings.

Headucation emphasises the importance of early intervention. Children and teenagers spend much of their adolescent lives in education settings surrounded by teachers. Yet, with no mandatory or government-funded mental health training, many signs of mental health go unnoticed or get mishandled by the school staff.

By training teachers in the basics of mental health, they will be better equipped to spot the signs of mental health struggles in young people, support mental health problems in the classroom and signpost young people to alternative mental health resources besides the GP.

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Neurodiversity: make it part of your D&I strategy

Shawmind’s Assistant Psychologist, Theo Durner, presented a series on neurodiversity to the team at Julius Bär International during Neurodiversity Awareness Week. The sessions gave a brief insight into ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, ideas on how to manage neurodiverse team members, and how the diversity it presents can potentially be to an organisation’s advantage.

The series aims at getting people thinking differently about neurodiversity, and appreciating that it can present new opportunities and solutions that can be of great benefit to the organisation. As such, it should be included on any organisation’s diversity and inclusion agenda.

A range of additional resources and useful links through which to learn more about neurodiversity and where to go for further help and support are also included in a PDF that accompanies the series.

If you would like more information about this series, or would like to discuss your mental health training requirements, please contact us.

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Welcome to our new Director of Fundraising

Laura Millard joined us on 9th May as our new Fundraising Director heading up our events, legacy campaigns, grants, bids, corporate and community donations.

Laura has many years of charity and fundraising experience but also understands, personally, the challenges of mental health and the impact it can have.

With lots of exciting plans in the pipeline she said, “I’m so happy to be part of the Shawmind family and look forward to getting stuck in and driving our mission forward”.

Laura lives on the outskirts of Birmingham with her family and dog Mylo and in her spare time enjoys walking, reading and cooking.

If you would like to get in touch about ways you can fundraise for Shawmind, please contact Laura.

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Make a difference to the lives of young people in Nottinghamshire

What have you done today to improve your sense of well-being? Have you had an impact on somebody else’s well-being?

One way to have a direct impact on your own sense of well-being is to volunteer to work with other people.

Shawmind are currently recruiting and training volunteers in Nottinghamshire who would like to spend time supporting young people. If you are a good listener and have some time to commit to regular sessions we would love to hear from you.

Shawmind deliver a range of mental health awareness sessions specifically for young people, this is an opportunity to support conversations about mental health while providing sign-posting to local services. Shawmind sessions are not therapeutic but rather provide a space to address loneliness and isolation with time to talk to others. Volunteers provide a listening ear and help with information and moderation of activities.

The benefits of being volunteering include:

  • Gaining confidence
  • Making a difference to others
  • Meeting amazing and interesting people
  • Being part of a community
  • Learning new skills and
  • Having some fun together!

Complete our application form to become part of a team who make a real difference.

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Shawmind part of new Be U Notts commissioned service

Nottinghamshire County Council has commissioned a new service to provide early intervention mental health support to children and young people up to the age of 25, and Shawmind is pleased to be a part of the service provision.

Launched on the 1st April, Shawmind is providing regular Breathe Space sessions for young people to access mental health books and  ‘drop in’ and have a chat with one of our trained volunteers. Breathe Spaces are spaces for real conversations about mental and emotional health, at schools, universities and other community venues.

Current venues include the Malt Cross and Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham City, and Beanblock Cafe in Newark-on-Trent. Three libraries across the county have now also agreed to host pop-up Breathe Spaces and will be announced shortly.

In addition, as part of this project, our Headucation programme will be providing tools, training and resources in 20 schools across the county.

Shawmind CEO Peter Wingrove said, “Early intervention is at the core of what we believe can make a positive impact on young lives. It’s great to be working with the County and all the partners in bringing Be U Notts to the children and young people of Nottinghamshire.”

For more information on the service, visit the website: https://www.beusupport.co.uk

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Sock It To Stigma! 2022

Our annual Sock it to Stigma! campaign seeks to raise awareness about the stigma associated with mental health and the damage that stigma can cause.

Mental ill health is all too often a topic that is not widely spoken about, especially in a workplace environment, with individuals fearing that they will be let go, not given as much responsibility or have their challenges ignored entirely by their colleagues and superiors. When mental ill health is not dealt with, it can have a hugely negative impact on productivity and work performance.

Stigma around mental health still prevents many people from seeking the help and support they need. We must all take personal responsibility to create the kind of culture which encourages people to speak up, which allows them to feel safe in doing so.

Peter Wingrove, Shawmind CEO

Each year we ask organisations and schools to get everyone wearing their brightest socks, on show, to create a fun discussion point around which to rally about this serious subject. This year’s campaign will run throughout February.

The intended outcome of #SockItToStigma is to combat stigma within schools as both workplaces and places of learning, to stimulate or increase discussions around mental health, encouraging free and open conversations between teachers and students, and between teachers and colleagues about their mental health and wellbeing without judgement or fear of recrimination.

By taking part in #SockItToStigma, you are showing that you are not afraid to stand up and be counted when it comes to fighting stigma surrounding mental health, and that your students and colleagues can come to you for support and advice, and be taken seriously without judgement or repercussion. #SockItToStigma has proven to be a fun, interactive way of getting conversations about mental health started.

How can your workplace get involved in #SockItToStigma?

Organisations are encouraged to proactively embrace projects which show that they are both understanding and accepting of the mental and emotional wellbeing challenges of their staff, and that they are there to support them as far as possible.

One way to do this is to organise a simple fundraising and sock-wearing competition between staff or departments, where each challenges the other to raise money for the #SockItToStigma cause (mental health training for schools, nationally) and the company commits to match what the employees raise. Fundraisers usually involve doing something fun that can be shared on the intranet or on social media – but the compulsory ingredient in the mix is that the activity must be done whilst wearing your brightest, weirdest socks!

We will support participating employees, organisations and schools through our social media and PR.

Fundraising Ideas

How can your school get involved in #SockItToStigma?

Schools need to show that they are both understanding and accepting of the mental and emotional wellbeing challenges of their staff and the children under their care, and that they are there to support them as far as possible. #SockItToStigma has proven in the past to be a fun, interactive way of getting these conversations started.

Use our #SockItToStigma Activity Pack as a starting point to do something fun together and to use the opportunity to speak about mental health, breaking the stigma around this serious subject.

Download our Activity Pack

All funds your school raises will be used to provide fully-funded mental health resources and training to schools through our #Headucation programme.

We make it easy for you to collect money and to donate to Shawmind – for the different ways to make a donation, please visit: https://shawmind.org/donate. All funds raised during this campaign go straight to our #Headucation fund to support children with mental health and stop stigma before it can start.

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Shawmind announces new charity partner Wellity Global

Mental health charity Shawmind have announced a charity partnership with global workplace wellbeing company Wellity Global.

Shawmind is a charity on a mission to improve mental health awareness. They are committed to educating individuals and organisations so they understand mental health and emotional wellbeing, and how to manage them effectively to lead successful, fulfilled lives.

In 2017 Shawmind raised 103,000 signatures during their initial Headucation campaign for a parliamentary debate which led to compulsory mental health education in schools. This hugely successful campaign firmly established Shawmind as a champion of mental health in the UK, despite being a fledgling charity.

Following on from their 2017 Headucation campaign, Shawmind is now focusing their energy on improving children’s mental health by ensuring teachers are equipped to understand mental health and support their pupils more effectively to deal with it.

Wellity Global have agreed to support Shawmind and their Headucation campaign, becoming a key partner in promoting and delivering Headucation.

Wellity Global CEO Simon Scott-Nelson explains: “75% of diagnosable mental health conditions are present before the age of eighteen. We really believe that to help make a real difference across society, early intervention and support is critical. This has to start with educating teachers in how to recognise the signs of concern and then act.”

Shawmind are mobilizing corporate sponsors and individuals to help bring about a transformation in the mental health of the next generation: working with local educational authorities and partner organisations to bring a whole-school approach to mental health, helping schools to develop a culture shift towards sustainable better mental health and wellbeing – fully funded to the schools.

Wellity Global is a company specialising in improving employee mental health and wellbeing which will be utilised to improve the workplace culture of schools as part of the whole-school approach.

Wellity Global COO Sadie Restorick MSc MABP notes: “Every day we work with organisations to help tackle stigma and create working cultures where people can talk openly about their mental health. The earlier we can start in normalising the conversation around wellbeing, the better. This means targeting the younger generation and training those around them, such as teachers and support staff.”

Shawmind CEO Peter Wingrove expresses his appreciation: “We are immensely grateful to Simon, Sadie and the rest of the Wellity team for their support of our charity and their commitment to promoting the Headucation cause. Making sure that the next generation is not failed in terms of their mental health and wellbeing is at the core of the Headucation project and with Wellity’s help we can encourage other organisations to join in our plan to train all teachers in basic mental health awareness.”

Visit shawmind.org/headucation for more information. For further queries about Headucation, mental health support in schools or organisations, please contact peter.wingrove@shawmind.org or simon.scott-nelson@wellityglobal.com

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ShawMind and FlourishZone announce partnership to support mental health of 1000 people in UK

ShawMind has announced a partnership with award-winning tech company FlourishZone to support the wellbeing and mental health of 1000 people in the UK.

The joint venture enables free, easy access to FlourishZone’s cutting edge technology as the population emerges from the pandemic with the hope of helping build a stronger, more resilient society.

Fully anonymised and accessible on a smartphone, access to FlourishZone’s app through a personalised licence is completely free and available on a first come, first served basis through ShawMind.

Peter Wingrove, CEO ShawMind, said: “Unquestionably, the pandemic has taken its toll on us all. Whether people have experienced the direct trauma of bereavement or the more general anxiety and isolation of lockdown, every one of us has experienced stress.

“Some of the effects of this are not going to be felt for some time, so to help minimise immediate and long-term problems it is vital we put sustainable, easy and transformative solutions in place now.

“We are delighted to partner with FlourishZone as their technology is truly geared at enabling all of those elements to happen in one, easy-to-access place while keeping the whole process fully anonymised.”

FlourishZone’s tech uses augmented intelligence to join cutting edge artificial intelligence with the expertise of the world’s coaches, leading edge scientists and the individual.

It is an approach that integrates definable factors that drive flourishing, wellbeing, resilience and performance.

FlourishZone founder and director Adrienne Percival said: “ShawMind are the perfect partners for FlourishZone as we share so much of the same ethos – to help as many people as possible overcome barriers and obstacles to helping them thrive and flourish in their lives and work.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with them to reach those who need it most so we can move into the next period stronger and more resilient on an individual, organisational and societal level.”

If you would like one of the licenses available through ShawMind, click here.

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Sock it to Stigma! 2021


Our annual Sock it to Stigma! (SITS) campaign seeks to raise awareness about the stigma associated with mental health and the damage that stigma can cause. Each year we ask organisations to get all their employees wearing their brightest socks, on show, to create a fun discussion point around which to rally about this serious subject. We send out special activity packs to over 400 schools, for teachers to use to engage with children on a variety of mental health topics in a fun way. This year’s campaign will launch with Children’s Mental Health Week and will run throughout February.

Mental ill health is all too often a topic that is not widely spoken about, especially in a workplace environment, with individuals fearing that they will be let go, not given as much responsibility or have their challenges ignored entirely by their colleagues and superiors. When mental ill health is not dealt with, it can have a hugely negative impact on productivity and work performance.

By taking part in SITS, you are showing that you are not afraid to stand up and be counted when it comes to fighting the stigma surrounding mental health, and that your employees and colleagues can come to you for support and advice, and be taken seriously without judgement or repercussion. SITS has proven to be a fun, interactive way of getting conversations about mental health started.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of people struggling with their mental health, especially those placed on furlough, those moving to remote working, and those who are suddenly finding themselves trying to juggle work alongside childcare and homeschooling.

Organisations are encouraged to proactively embrace projects which show that they are both understanding and accepting of the mental and emotional wellbeing challenges of their staff, and that they are there to support them as far as possible.

One way to do this is to organise a simple fundraising and sock-wearing competition between staff or departments, where each challenges the other to raise money for the SITS cause (mental health training for schools, nationally) and the company commits to match what the employees raise. Fundraisers usually involve doing something fun that can be shared on the intranet or on social media – but the compulsory ingredient in the mix is that the activity must be done whilst wearing your brightest, weirdest socks!

We will support participating employees, organisations and schools through our social media and PR, and those who run fundraising projects for our benefit as part of their SITS participation will receive complementary Lunch & Learn sessions.

Want to know how to participate in this year’s SITS campaign?

Download our Events info pack here, or if you are a school download a free Activity Pack here. Or simply call or email us…we would love for you to get involved!

This year we are raising funds to provide basic mental health training to teachers. Why is this important? 3 out 4 diagnosed with a serious mental health condition could have been diagnosed before their 18th birthday – making it imperative that teachers understand the basics of mental health and what to be vigilant for in the classroom. To date, teachers do not receive mental health training as part of their initial teacher training course.

Just £5 provides 1 mental health first responder for 1 child in a class. You can help us make sure the next generation has better support for mental health.

 

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Our Teacher Mental Health Training Campaign – Headucation 2025

Shawmind is a young charity on a mental health mission. In 2017 Shawmind raised 103,000 signatures to get the important issue of children’s mental health debated in Parliament – the result of which has seen children’s mental health education being made compulsory from the 2020 school year.

This is a great outcome, especially considering that 75% of diagnosable mental health conditions present before a person’s 18th birthday.

Unfortunately, the job is not yet done.

There are around 500,000 teachers in the UK, most of whom receive no mental health training as a standard part of their teacher training. These teachers are expected not only to deliver the new mental health curriculum, but also to be the mental health first responder in the classroom – a role many feel wholly under-equipped to perform.

That is why Shawmind is dedicating itself to training 151,000 teachers over the next 5 years in the basics of mental health support. That means we aim to equip mental health first responders who will reach 2.5-million school children!

It costs just £5 per child to train a teacher in the basics of mental health support.  This Christmas, give a school child the present of a teacher trained in mental health… Buy a pack of our charity Christmas cards for just £5, or if you wish to simply donate to the project, you can do so here – all proceeds from the sale of our Christmas cards go to our teacher mental health training project.

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