Mental health of Banbury primary school children addressed by new scheme


A pilot project to help year 5 and 6 children understand more about stress, anxiety and self-esteem has been a success

The mental health of children in North Oxfordshire has been the focus of a new scheme run jointly by Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire Mind and Resilient Young Minds.

An initial pilot involved 76 primary school youngsters from St. Mary’s School, Dashwood Academy and Bishop Loveday school in Bodicote.   The children from years 5 and 6 were offered a six-week support programme to help look after their mental health.   The aim was to help them understand more about stress, anxiety and self-esteem.

The course includes sport and physical activity elements which are delivered by Cherwell’s Youth Activators.   Oxfordshire Mind host the presentations and workshops.

Feedback about the programme showed that 76 per cent of those taking part felt their wellbeing had improved after the course, with 73 per cent saying they would recommend it to their friends.

The project is now being rolled out across the district, with a further three schools taking part this term.   More schools will take part in the new year as the programme expands and becomes a fixture in the school calendar

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “youngsters have a lot to deal with at the best of times, with the normal emotional and physical changes they experience as they prepare to head up to secondary school. But COVID has added another layer of confusion which can contribute to anxiety and stress. These courses have been expertly designed to help children understand their feelings and boost their mental health and will prove hugely beneficial in the weeks and months ahead.”

Perry Trafford, children and young people coordinator for Oxfordshire Mind said: “being able to support the Activators with the primary school mental health sessions, was a fantastic opportunity to provide both wellbeing and mental health support for a younger audience. The combination of physical and mental health activities provided both a fun and educational part of the pupils’ week. The programme provided an understanding of why discussing wellbeing and mental health is important for everyone.“

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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