From 7 – 13 February 2022, it is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme for this year is growing together; this is about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other out. It has made me reflect on how NCW helps young people who are not only VI, but who also suffer with mental health issues.
Vision impaired students can suffer with a range of different mental health conditions, especially coming to NCW from mainstream environments – feelings of worry, social isolation and exclusion are just a few. It can be a difficult transition.
Here at NCW there are a range of people who students can talk to if they are struggling. We have a Counsellor who comes on-site each week to support, help and talk to students. Alongside the Counsellor, there is a team of people who are trained to help during the school day and after school hours, such as Julie the Nurse, Paul, Strategic Lead for Student Wellbeing as well as all Care staff in the different houses. A group of staff (both Teachers and Care Staff) have recently completed a trauma course which will help them support students even more.
NCW also offers a range of clubs and opportunities to get students involved, out in the fresh air and pumping some endorphins! Clubs can include running, rock climbing, creative writing, rifle shooting and tandem riding. There is also a range of activities both on and off site during the weekends such as crafts, walking and bowling. There are many more activities to get involved in and the activities team is always willing to hear new ideas from students. This year alone there have been many opportunities for students to get involved and enjoy different experiences like trips to the Westend and local theatres which will only increase as the year goes on.
During times when young people are experiencing mental health issues, it’s important to listen. NCW is a brilliant example of doing just this!