Why LightBulb?

One in six school-aged children has a mental health problem. According to NHS Digital, these figures have risen from one in 10 in 2004 to one in nine in 2017. With 75 per cent of adults showing diagnosable mental health symptoms by the age of 24, it makes sense to focus on the wellbeing of young people before problems start.

That is why St Andrew’s has developed LightBulb, the School Mental Wellness Programme for primary and secondary schools.

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 'Our LightBulb programme provides schools with an opportunity to build a culture of mental health support for their students. We feel it’s very much part of our responsibility to make sure we're using our skills to help schools to pick up on problems early on and support their young people.'  Cheryl Smith, Head Teacher St Andrew’s College

What is the LightBulb programme?

LightBulb is a programme that provides a ready-made framework for schools so those that participate can demonstrate and showcase excellence regarding mental health practice to regulatory bodies such as Ofsted.

What are the main aims of the programme?

  • To create a culture of positive mental health which is driven by school leaders and embedded in practice.
  • To link with the role of the designated mental health lead in schools and support them with whole school development.
  • To support the school to encourage the development of resilience, coping skills and self-help strategies for children.
  • To reduce the stigma of mental health and improve whole school understanding of how mental health can impact children and young people.
  • It provides, carers/families and children with strategies for looking after their own wellbeing while also supporting their child’s mental health.

What support do participating schools receive?

Once schools have signed up they will receive:

  • five hours of mental health awareness and support training for all school staff
  • one hour support/signposting session for parents and carers of pupils
  • one hour support/signposting session for pupils
  • staff wellbeing resources and activities for teachers and educational professionals
  • on completion, each school will be presented with an official LightBulb certificate which recognises its commitment to mental health among its children and staff.

Are other stakeholders involved?

NHS England has provided funding for 20 secondary schools local to St Andrew’s as a pilot in partnership with Northamptonshire Health Foundation Trust (NHFT).

The programme also ties in fully with the Government’s plans to increase the amount of mental health support pupils get from schools.

How much is it to sign up?

This is a not-for-profit programme as staff at St Andrew's feel very strongly about helping young people improve their mental health.

Following the success of the pilot scheme, the programme costs just £1 a pupil. This is to ensure all schools – of any size – can afford to take part.

For more information or to sign up, telephone 01604 616797 or email lightbulb@standrew.co.uk

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The first school which took part in the programme is Castle Academy in Northampton. Former Headteacher Lorna Beard, who is now Head of Inclusion of the East Midlands Academy Trust, is rolling the initiative out across all the schools she oversees.

Lorna said: “If you’re a school that is really open to some challenge and open to honest and professional dialogue and actually wants to move things forward, I think the support that you will get from St Andrew’s is open-ended. You will get out of it what you’re prepared to put in.

“I think one of the biggest benefits to us has been the access to the high-quality training that we’ve been able to offer to all of our staff at all levels because part of this, for us, is it’s about every staff member on their day-to-day journey being able to spot the signs that worry us about children or spot those children that are going under the radar that perhaps need a little bit of support. For some of them it really has been life-changing and being able to come in and do some mindfulness and to identify that actually they need some time out has really changed outcomes for them.”

Image shows Wilbur the Worry Monster a devise which allows younger children to express their fears and worries.