1. What is the mental health champion?
A. My role is trying to encourage people to recognise that children’s mental health matters. Learning in school can be affected by mental health yet sometimes we are not good at talking about these issues. Looking after our emotional self, our feelings are as important as looking after our physical self. Mental health problems are not as easy to spot as a broken leg, for example, everyone can tell that something is wrong, but when it’s our feelings then it’s not so easy to guess and perhaps it’s easier for us to hide.
2. How do you encourage children to talk about there problems.
A. I try and provided a friendly space to talk to children. We might play games like getting to know you jenga we might use art and craft as a fun way to talk about feelings. Children might simply need a chat and a biscuit to share a problem in order to make it easier to manage.
3. Where will we be able to find you in school?
A. I am in the small office next to Mr Devlin’s room. I am available on a Tuesday and Thursday. Drop in: for years 3, 4, 5 and 6 Tuesday Lunchtime 12.45-1.15.
4. What inspired you to do this job?
A. My biggest inspiration was a teacher at high school who taught me that spending a little bit of time with someone and believing in them can make a huge difference to their life.
5. How does it make you feel to know what children are going through?
A. Sometimes the job can be really difficult and emotionally draining. Children can have a very difficult time and have lots of things going on at home, before they’ve even stepped into school. I need to ensure that I can switch off from my job in order to look after my own mental health, so if I’ve had a particularly difficult day I will try and do something good for me, perhaps going for a walk on the moors or taking my daughter swimming.
6. Do you enjoy your job? What’s the best thing about your job?
A. I love my job. I enjoy helping children to overcome difficulties for example friendship problems, worrying about tests and difficulties at home. I enjoy making a positive difference to children’s lives. Everyday is different. Children are magical!
Rachel helps you feel comfortable and tries to help you understand and put any problems into perspective. She is easy to talk to and welcoming. She plays games to cheer you up and has biscuits on hand if the tears are flowing along with a handy box of tissues. She makes you feel happy and positive!