It is not just one day a year
One of the themes of World Mental Health Day was Wellness. That's fine. But in some ways, every day is Wellness Day at Pilgrims'.
Let me explain, using a recent day as an example:
- I walk into boarders' breakfast. Boys scurry around, hoovering up meals from a wide range of choices, whilst chatting with staff and each other.
- Out on gate duty, day boys arrive, greet me and have a chat.
- In Lesson 1, Year 3 and I discuss, draw and share with each other the things we do that make us happy and make life worthwhile.
- Lesson 2, we watch Harry Kane's CBBC bedtime story about how to find your inner lion. Staff meeting at break includes discussing any boys we have worries about.
- Lesson 3, and I teach science, in which we partly talk about how to learn from mistakes and to use this to do even better.
- At lunch, boys are encouraged to make healthy choices of what and how much to eat.
- Following that are matches and training sessions - plenty of exercise! In that session I talk with boys on how to work better as a team and how to cope with frustration. I see a colleague consoling an older boy about losing, and how that is a life lesson.
One day. Yet all that Wellness learning is going on. And it's not just the boys. Staff and parents are part of this too.
When we talk about mental health these days, the conversation is moving on. Yes, learning to cope with difficult times is important. But achieving and maintaining a happy and healthy mental and emotional state is even better. If my 14 years at Pilgrims' has taught me anything it is this - for many of us, being happy and healthy is often about choices and actions. Make good choices and act upon them.
We will all need help from time to time, some more than others. And certainly we should invest in that. But we also must make sure that the conversation is positive - I am happy, getting happier and I can help others be happy too!
I know that Pilgrims' is a great place for young people to learn about themselves and how to make the most of their potential. I hope that it will continue to be so and grow even more in years to come. It's not easy, but it is just as important as passing those exams or getting those grades. Scores are transitory - life skills like kindness, self-care and resilience, are forever.
Director of Wellbeing