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.
'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
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?
Once schools have signed up they will receive:
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.
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, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.