JEMIMApicA week ago, I was proud to observe sixth form students in the school playground, making themselves available to other pupils wanting someone to talk to.This was their way of taking part in Time to Talk, a day focused on encouraging all of us to open up and talk about mental health.

The purpose of talking openly and listening, is to counteract the feelings of isolation and shame some people may experience when grappling with poor mental health. According to the charity Young Minds, one in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder, that’s roughly three children in every classroom. Problems can range from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, to eating disorders, psychosis and self-harm – the list of symptoms is long.

Clearly children today are growing up in an increasingly complicated, fast moving world that they have to be well equipped to deal with. School plays an important role in providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to flourish and stay well.The challenge for many of us who work with them, is spotting the symptoms of mental ill health early enough, and knowing what to do about it.

At Morpeth, we have employed a School Counsellor for the past 18 years because we recognise that lots of children will need specific help at various points during their time at school. Our Counsellor,Lindsay Noakes, offers drop-in sessions, regular appointments and group sessions looking at particular issues such as anxiety, low moods, grief, attachment and trauma.

She is also currently working alongside statutory services to help build on the school’s emotional awareness and support for those young people who require care for their mental wellbeing. She will be working with all teachers to look at how we support mental health in the classroom and to promote a shared approach with statutory services such as Child Adolescent Mental Health Services and the Educational Psychology Service.The aim is to inform teachers about symptoms and support structures that encourage children to speak out.

If you have any concerns about your child’s mental health, please contact Lindsay by email: or on the school number 0208 981 0921.

Jemima Reilly, Headteacher

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