Support for students' mental health
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (May 9-13), we wanted to remind you of some of the things we have at UTCR to help support young people’s mental health.
As well as creating this fabulous window display which highlights some of the key messages around loneliness - the theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week - Student Welfare Coordinator Charli Burge would like to remind students about the support available for them at school.
- Chat and Chill Club for students who struggle with being around lots of people and need something a bit smaller. Students have access to card games, board games and the UTC Hamster, Eevee. This is a technology free zone and is supported by staff every day.
- Relaxation Enrichment to help students learn how to self-soothe and be able to use techniques to manage their anxieties and other emotions. This is a technology free enrichment so that all students can relax. Activities such as box breathing, meditation and grounding techniques are used and the sessions are ended with a positive plenary, e.g. one thing you are grateful for.
- School counsellor who is from No. 5 counselling in Reading. Phaedra comes every Monday to help support our students with their mental health. Students can have as many as 20 sessions if needed and it is completely confidential.
- Our school nurse comes in every other Tuesday to help support students with anything they may need support with. This can range from sleep hygiene to exam stress and everything in between. Kirsten has both bookable appointments and walk-ins to allow students to some see her when it suits them.
At UTC Reading we have been fortunate enough to fund the creation of a sensory room and safe space which we call the SafeHaven.
The space has been designed to allow students to retreat to a safe area within school that is focused on developing emotional regulation skills for when students are feeling overwhelmed.
Within the room students have access to resources for developing their own emotional awareness and techniques on how to bring their emotions back to a comfortable level.
The room has also been filled with sensory calming equipment that students can experiment with to learn about what is helpful for them in times of high stress. Equipment within the room spans from an 8ft bubble tube and LED light tails to weighted blankets, colouring books, and fiddle toys.
Students are designated access based on SEND needs and mental wellbeing requirements.
The room is secured with monitored key card entry and has rules attached to its use that are focused on developing good wellbeing practice - E.g. no phones or laptops.
Students can access the room at any time in the day for periods of 15 minutes (if within lesson time) and have the access to the SafeHaven written discreetly on their lanyard card to show teachers if needed.
This is what some of our students said about the SafeHaven:
“I find it very satisfying, the bean bags to sit on and the bubble lamp is really calming. I use it if I am getting angry, upset or stressed”
“I like the SafeHaven and I use it when I feel stressed. The lights and the bubble towers are nice and there’s things to read and fiddle with. It’s quiet as well which is important”
“The SafeHaven is an interactive room for crying and calming down. It is not difficult to get access to and is intended for students with additional needs or experiencing mental health difficulties. I have found it very helpful in the times I have needed it. I think it is a helpful resource in school for mental health struggles.”