It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event, which has millions of people take part, including people in schools, further education, private, public, and charity sectors, families, and individuals. The theme for this year is ‘Movement: Moving more for our mental health.

Keeping active and moving your body regularly is evidenced to improve mental health, quality of life, and overall wellbeing! Helping to keep us fit and well physically as well as mentally – our bodies and minds are inherently connected, so our physical and mental health are very intertwined. Movement releases endorphins and “feel good” hormones, which can also help to reduce stress and frustration, and movement can release energy stored in our bodies.

Here are some top tips to help get moving! 

  • Find moments for movement every day (march on the spot or do some stretches while waiting for things such as buses or lunch queues
  • Set small, achievable goals that you can build on every day
  • Take a break from sitting and be sure to stand and stretch regularly, particularly if you have a desk-based job
  • Find the fun! Play games and find activities you enjoy, and if you can do it with family and friends the social connection can make the benefits even better!

What is your environment like in school for promoting good mental health in relation to movement? Here are some things to think about:

  • Are the mental wellbeing benefits of movement emphasised?
  • Is there a variety of different movement options and activities available, so the benefits can be experienced by all regardless of ability?
  • Are there opportunities in the day for pupils to be active?
  • Can you incorporate active learning into the school day?
  • Are there opportunities for pupils to have fun and be active at break and lunchtimes?

There are many resources available for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week: 

  • A tonne of #KoothMoves branded resources (information articles, lesson activities, etc) for teaching staff and other, accessible here 
  • BBC Teach Live Lesson offers pupils to get active in a fun and feel-good Live Lesson for Mental Health Awareness Week! This 30-minute programme will be available to watch via BBC Teach and on the CBBC channel. 
  • Mental Health Foundation provides a free ‘Move for your Mood’ lesson plan full of discussion ideas, activities and lesson plans to get you started on your movement journey and better protect the mental health of pupils and schools staff. 

Do you have plans for Mental Health Awareness Week in school this year? We would love to hear about them! Comment below. For any queries please contact dswp@devon.gov.uk.

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