Latest News
Homepage News and Media Latest News

Wellbeing Matters

23 Feb 2022

In recent years, mental health has increasingly become a topic of focus worldwide, especially since the start of the pandemic. In every sector, education, workplace or research, mental health has become the forefront of conversation and is increasingly recognised as essential to those adversely affected. A diagnosis is no longer needed to pay attention to their mental health. So I thought it was fitting that the focus for this Wellbeing Matters publication would be to look at mental health awareness, some suggestions for what you can do to improve your mental health and a discussion of the work we are doing to help support our pupils.


Mental Health Statistics

According to the NIMH in the US, in 2020, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the US live with a mental illness.

According to the NHS in the UK, 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children will experience a mental health illness.

According to BioMed central, 9.3% of the Chinese population reported having a mental health disorder within a 12-month timeframe.

According to the statistics above, mental health illnesses or disorders are very prevalent and warrant our attention. However, these numbers only describe illnesses that have been diagnosed and/or treated; many others might be on the threshold or on a path to developing an illness in the future. Therefore, I would argue that the best way to prevent these cases from developing further is two-prong; firstly, educating all on mental health awareness, including the signs and symptoms for different mental health illnesses and sharing best practices to improve one’s mental health.
Mental Health Awareness

To cover the full spectrum of mental health illnesses, even briefly, would turn readers away, so instead, I would like to discuss one aspect in greater detail and offer a selection of tips for those who might need suppor.


A term coined by Corey Keyes in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour in 2002, languishing, has made its way into the realm of mental health discussion recently. People who are languishing struggle to feel joy in what they do and might feel aimless. In psychology, they often discuss mental health on a spectrum of depression to flourishing. Someone languishing would find themselves somewhere in the middle, not depressed but not flourishing either. Languishing dulls your motivation and makes it harder to focus on tasks, and while languishing is not classed as a mental illness, it is a risk factor for developing a mental illness in the future.


To find out more about mental health:


  • National Centre for Mental Health China (Chinese) https://ncmhc.org.cn

  • National Health Services in the UK (English) https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/ 

  • US Department of Health & Human Services (English) https://www.mentalhealth.gov/ 


From Languishing to Flourishing
So, how do we get out of the rut and move from languishing to flourishing?



Determine if you are languishing

Ask yourself a few questions. Do you wake up ready to start the day, or would you prefer to go back to sleep? Do you have a sense of purpose, or do you find most of how you spend your day meaningless?



Go with the flow

A flow state is when a person is fully engaged in the activity, the person is energised and enjoys the meaningful work—the process. People can find flow by taking on new challenges, doing something they enjoy or getting on with key to flow is not allowing your attention to be fragmented, dedicating uninterrupted time to get in the flow.


Savour and Celebrate

According to psychologists, savouring is about appreciating an event or activity in the moment. It is essential to share the victories, big or small, to help you see the good things around you. We often encourage our pupils to reflect on the positives as we celebrate success.


Show gratitude

Studies have shown that expressing gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, decreases depression and anxiety, and greater happiness. To make it easier, showing appreciation should not become a burden. Instead, try attaching it to other weekly rituals.


Do good deeds

Research has shown that concentrating on good deeds is better than spreading them out. So do something nice for people around you or volunteer.


Find your purpose

To truly flourish, people need to believe that what they do has a purpose. So find meaning in all that you do. For some, this might require a reframing of how they view their work. If you are feeling down, you could start with a small project that can give you a sense of accomplishment when you finish, for example, organising your cupboards or a quick art project.


Take up a new challenge

Join a book club, learn a new language, try a new recipe or sign up for a yoga class. Although you do not need to make a significant change to stop feeling like you are languishing, seeking out new challenges can bring about new accomplishments and revitalise your purpose.

What are we doing as a school?
As part of our commitment to mental health, we registered for a mental health award through the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. Through the program, we were able to self-diagnose where we were as a community in our mental health provision and then form an action plan to improve.
Currently, there are many ongoing projects under the bigger umbrella of the mental health award. One example includes the peer mentoring program.


Older pupils are trained to become peer educators and deliver mental health lessons to younger peer learners. This particular program is important as it teaches the pupil body mental health awareness and offers a chance for our younger pupils to make connections with older pupils. We find that most pupils prefer to seek out their peers should they have questions or be struggling.
The key to improving mental health for our whole community is developing awareness and destigmatising mental health illnesses. We must keep the conversation going and educate ourselves to help ourselves and others should the need arise.