July News

A Whole School Approach to Mental Health

Beechen Cliff School Bath

We believe that a healthy school is one that places the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school community at its centre. Our latest film, made in partnership with one of our lead schools, Beechen Cliff, highlights the importance and impact of student leadership and a Solution Focused approach and led to OFSTED describing the school’s mental health provision as “remarkable” in March 2020. The film illustrates the school’s journey to developing a whole school approach based on Public Health England’s 8 key principles for promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing: Ethos & Environment; Leadership & Management; Teaching & Learning; Student Voice; Staff Development; Monitoring & Evaluation of Impact; Targeted Support; Working with Parents & Carers.

I hope the film will have the impact of allowing schools and agencies working with youngsters to see the potential of developing a programme which allows individuals to express how they feel and seek help when needed. The power of the piece is in the obvious fact that so much of what is effective is peer driven and has had such a profound impact on individuals and on our school community

This film really showcases the power of what can happen when everyone in a school community can work together. It fills me with pride to see the huge steps we have made together towards an open and accepting environment for mental health.

The film, funded by donations in memory of Lewis McCracken from Belfast, a young man who took his own life during the lockdown, will be used to encourage other schools to take a similar approach. It has been made available to schools across the UK and beyond, together with brief supporting documents outlining the key steps taken by the school, student feedback, and information about Solution Focused practice.

Watch the complete 15-minute film click here.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

Q & A - Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees

As part of our Q&A series with strong Role Models, we had a fascinating conversation with Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol. He described the impact that the pandemic is having on the city and told us how his challenging upbringing inspired his plans to tackle inequality and fight poverty. He also discussed how his background in mental health services and the ideas of Martin Luther King and Joe Biden have influenced him and told us how overcoming the fear of failure changed his life. You can read the full article here.

Back to School

Reuben talks about going back to school

In our latest film, primary age children from different schools discuss how they feel about going back to school after lockdown.  

They share what they’ve learned about themselves during lockdown, have interesting (and complimentary!) things to say about their schools and teachers, and give their tips on what schools can do to make sure they feel safe and happy.

We were pleased to see that, despite the challenges this time has posed, these young people are able to reflect in such an open and insightful way about their feelings and what they need from their schools and families at this time.  We hope this will help inform and support schools as they prepare for all students to return to school in September.

Click here to watch Back to School

Finn's Challenge

Finn, working on his Happy Jar

Finn is 9 years old and is a pupil at St Stephen’s in Bath. He has done lots of work for the Boys in Mind Team:  making films for our original film project and our Getting Through This Together project, helping plan and deliver the conference last July and even doing some fund-raising. It is Finn’s idea to introduce  a challenge each month – something to keep us physically and mentally healthy.

“I’m Finn, I’ve been working with Boys in Mind for 2 years. Each month I’m going to set a challenge for everyone. My challenge for August  is:

Make a “Happy Jar”. Every day this month write down one happy thing that has happened to you that day and put it in a jar. On the last day of the month , read through all the happy memories back to yourself. You can ask a family member or friend to help you if you can’t think of something.”

BiM on the BBC

Youth Advisor Alex on camera with the BBC

The whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing being championed by students and staff at Beechen Cliff gained regional attention when three of our fab youth advisors were interviewed for a feature on BBC Points West.

BiM Youth Advisors Alex, Enya and Will

Alex, Enya, and Will were great advocates for the progress made by Beechen Cliff. Filmed in the school grounds, the trio spoke eloquently and passionately about Boys In Mind/Girls Mind Too and even made walking up a hill towards the camera look effortless.

Click here to watch the whole interview on our Facebook page.

Paulton Parents

Helping Parents, a film created with students and their families at Paulton Junior School.

In late 2019 we were successfully awarded funding by St Johns Foundation for a series of films to support parents of young people when they are struggling. The project was to create a series of films with children which told stories of how family members had been helpful at times when things had been really difficult for them. The hope was that by sharing these stories of how people have been helpful it may provide support and useful ideas for other families about how they can help people they care about.

In November last year Joan, Niki, Henry and Kate led an assembly at Paulton Junior School to invite children to get involved. The film project team were excited to start working with Jack, Jackson, Riley, Albie, Alice and Jacob. All the other children who wanted to join the project formed a podcast group with another member of staff at the school and made some fantastic podcasts. Listen here

Joan, Niki and Fran worked with the 6 children over an 8-week period, delivering an after-school session every week where they played games, developed ideas for questions, learned about filming techniques and invited their parents in to interview and film them. It was a really lovely process which gave enough time for the children to become increasingly confident about telling their stories, be filmed and also be behind the camera and interview parents and family members.

With the event of Covid-19 we were unable to do our red-carpet event so are launching the film ahead of this and hope we may be able to do a celebratory event next year when schools are back. In the meantime, we absolutely love this film and what the young people created with their parents and thank them for their openness and willingness to get stuck in!

This film will form part of a Parent Tool Kit that we are creating as part of the Helping Parents project. Watch this space!

Being Black

Wayne talks to BiM

Back in February BiM film-maker Andrew Hassenruck met with Wayne, a London based therapist as part of an ongoing film project. As usual the meeting was unscripted and neither Andrew or Wayne had any idea where the conversation would lead them, and this is one of the films that resulted from that meeting. And it’s a film that feels very apposite at the moment as it deals with the story of Wayne’s father, for whom moving to the UK in the 1950’s was his duty in order to help the “father country” reconstruct after the last war. However, for Wayne, living in the UK today is a very different story. Watch Wayne’s film here.

  • Fundraising: Clarrie Gasson completed the equivalent of a channel swim in a pool in her back garden to raise money for BIM. 
  • Youth advisor Will wrote a blog for the UK Association of Solution Focused Practitioners on his experiences of mental health during lockdown.
  • Tara and Will took part in an online seminar/Q&A about Solution Focused practice in schools.
  • One of our youth advisors also took part in a BANES council webinar to discuss mental health provision.

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