Let’s Connect: Encourage Children to Speak Up About Their Wellbeing.
The theme for this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘Let’s Connect.’ It aims to encourage children to have healthy connections with those around them, to support their sense of wellbeing.
For children with low wellbeing, making ‘connections’ and asking for help can be difficult. They may be too afraid to speak up. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which can have a negative impact on their mental health.
Here we look at how DSLs can find ways to easily ‘connect’ with students and give a voice to those who are too afraid to share wellbeing concerns.
Why is it important to encourage students to speak up?
Schools recognise that supporting the wellbeing of young people has never been more important. According to the recently published Good Childhood Report, 1 in 9 children now have ‘low wellbeing’.
There are a number of reasons for this. A student may have low self-esteem about their appearance, suffer from exam stress or be victims of violence or abuse. They may be concerned about a lack of food due to the Cost of Living Crisis.
Negative online interactions also play a part. Ofcom research found that 36% of children aged 8-17 years said they have seen something worrying or nasty online. 1 in 5 children have experienced some sort of cyberbullying.
If left unattended, low wellbeing can impact a child’s overall health and development. Consequences may include poorer learning outcomes, an increased risk of mental health issues or even risk of self-harm or suicide.
The challenge for DSLs: Spotting students who are afraid to speak up
For DSLs identifying students with wellbeing concerns can be a challenge. Students who are afraid to speak up can remain hidden and out of sight. As KCSIE reminds us; ‘children and young people may not always feel able or aware of how to seek support when it comes to issues surrounding their own wellbeing, safety and mental health.’
Methods used to detect students with low wellbeing currently include:
- Annual online or/and paper-based surveys to gain a snapshot of the wellbeing climate of their school.
- Play-based activities or games to encourage students to share their feelings.
- Drop-in sessions with the school’s DSL, Counsellor, or Head of Year for students to share any concerns.
Whilst these methods bring benefits, they are limited in their approach. For example, they paint a picture of student wellbeing based on one point in time. Yet, student wellbeing needs can change daily, weekly, monthly or annually. Therefore, schools need to regularly ‘connect’ with students to understand what’s going on in their world and quickly address any concerns.
Schools need a more effective tool in their armour to spot students with low wellbeing and encourage them to voice any worries or concerns.
Smoothwall Pulse can help
Smoothwall Pulse is a safe and accessible way for students to share their voice via an app or desktop device. In a fun, weekly online check-in lasting just 60 seconds, students are encouraged to reflect on their mental, social and physical wellbeing. This allows schools to:
- Quickly ‘connect’ with students to provide early intervention and support.
- See an instant snapshot into school-wide wellbeing, down to individual years, classes and students.
- Track student wellbeing changes over time and provide comprehensive and effective support to students.
Harnessing revolutionary technology like Smoothwall Pulse check-ins, enables schools to take a more proactive approach to student wellbeing. It makes it much easier for students that may be afraid to share their concerns, to reach out and receive quicker intervention and support. It’s a friendlier, more modern survey experience where students can ask for help at any time and helps to promote higher levels of wellbeing.
Current methods don’t go far enough in helping DSLs to identify students who are too afraid to voice their concerns. Smoothwall Pulse provides a brand-new way for DSLs and students to ‘connect’ and speak up. It helps to ensure earlier student intervention, better wellbeing and improved learning outcomes.
Find out in more detail how you can ‘connect’ with students that need help but may easily go unnoticed. Download our latest white paper here.