Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government spoke to pupils at Oakwood Primary School in Easterhouse, Glasgow, as part of Children’s Mental Health Week.
Place2Be has provided mental health support for pupils, families and staff at primary and secondary schools in Scotland since 2002, and at Oakwood Primary for over seven years. The charity reaches 22,000 pupils and their families in schools across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Tayside and Ayrshire.
After hearing about Place2Be’s support at Oakwood Primary, Professor Leitch remarked:
“I wish that had existed when I was a child. In fact I wish that existed for me now, never mind when I was at school. It sounds fantastic.”
Place2Be launched the first ever Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015 to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. This year’s theme is Express Yourself. One of the pupils asked Professor Leitch what he does to express himself:
“I was never very good at sport. I tried my best, I was always willing, but I was never very good. I was in some clubs, but I was never good enough to be in the teams. So now what I do is I run, I do two laps of the park, so it keeps me physically healthy and helps my mental health. It makes me relax a little bit”
Another pupil asked Professor Leitch what he does to relax:
“So not much spare time to relax I’m afraid, I wish there was. Number one is running and audio books. The other thing I do is spend time with my wife, and Zoom calls with my bigger family, so my mum, dad and my sister. Lynn and I cook together a lot.
The other one is that I try and sleep well, because it would be easy with my job to work into the early hours of the morning or to get up too early, so I try and get 8 hours sleep. If I can run, sleep eight hours and eat three meals a day, I’m doing pretty well.”
The Scottish Government has launched a package of support for school staff, developed by the Workforce Support workstream of the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group (CERG). As part of this package, Place2Be is delighted to be partnering with Education Scotland to offer its Place2Think programme for free to teachers and school leaders across Scotland.
Participants join a small group of peers remotely on a monthly basis, to reflect on the emotional impact of their work, how emotional and mental health factors can impact on learning for some children and young people, and to explore possibilities for responding to issues they’re facing. Find out more and sign up on the Place2Be website.