Supporting Children's Mental Health In Glasgow
Purple House Clinic (PHC) Glasgow and The High School of Glasgow Junior School are preparing for another school year of supporting pupils’ mental health and wellbeing as they mark the third year of their successful partnership. This initiative, which started in October 2020, has brought profound benefits, greatly impacting teachers and pupils alike.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, Head Teacher Heather Fuller sought ways to bolster the mental health support provided by the school. Recognising the expertise of PHC Glasgow, they began a collaboration that enriched the school's wellbeing framework. This has enhanced the school’s wellbeing provision by offering professional mental health support to pupils, as well as giving staff the necessary tools to empower them to care for the children in times of need.
“From the outset, there has been an overwhelming response from both teachers and parents towards the initiative,” expressed Mireille Wallace, Senior Psychologist at PHC Glasgow.
“The pandemic had a huge impact on everyday life, and readjusting afterwards was a really challenging period for children. School isn’t just about learning, it’s a hub for social interactions and it can take time to redevelop those experiences. It’s really important even at a young age to have an outlet to discuss mental health. Tackling the problem early stops it developing further later in life. Our alliance ensures teachers have a trusted resource for their mental health queries.”
Mireille's routine visits to The High School of Glasgow Junior School include a drop-in clinic, facilitating discussions with teachers on various mental health concerns about their pupils.
Pupils can also come and visit the ‘Chill Out Zone’ created in the school if they need a moment of solitude. Now with the partnership in its third year, Mireille has very much become an integral part of the pastoral care team at the school. Her expertise in neurodiverse conditions has meant she can offer advice, if requested, on conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) based on classroom behaviour and other factors. She has also led talks on mental health topics to pupils and parents to help understanding in these areas and to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health.
“The mental health support PHC Glasgow provide has had a hugely positive influence on both teachers and pupils,” said Heather Fuller. “We love having Mireille in the school; she feels like one of the team. Her knowledge and expertise are invaluable, and our teachers now feel they can go to her with any issues or concerns to support their pupils’ mental health. We’ve made a real effort to put physical and mental wellbeing at the forefront of everything we do, and with Mireille’s input, I feel that we have crafted a nurturing environment where pupils feel encouraged to discuss their mental wellbeing in a way to suit them. The feedback we’ve had from pupils, teachers and parents has been phenomenal, so we hope we can continue this special relationship with PHC Glasgow for many years to come.”