Looking Out for Number One

Mental Health Awareness Week falls between 14th and 20th May. This year, the awareness week aims to promote how stress can be a contributing factor in mental health problems. Research cited on the Mental Health Foundation website states: “Research has shown that 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year, and stress is a key factor in this.”

By tackling stress, we can go a long way towards tackling mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and, in some instances, self-harm and suicide. As an academy with over 1200 students, some of whom are embarking on a particularly stressful time in their lives (exams), we’d like to take a look at some of the wellbeing support that the academy has to offer its students.

The academy believes in “excellence for all” and offers all young people, no matter what their background, their age or ability, the same chance at life – to be the very best version of themselves. And we couldn’t agree more.

We have a range of facilities available to students at the academy to assist with both their physical and mental needs. It is the school’s belief that education is all about balance; to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. We’re very keen to ensure our students make the most of the arts and sports facilities available; this encourages healthy and happy students, takes their mind off studying, and allows them to showcase their talents, socialise… and have a laugh!

We’re very lucky to have access to a recently refurbished 25m pool, complete with slide and separate splash zone, a purpose-built dance and fitness studio, spin studios, gymnasium, all-weather sports pitches, playing fields and the popular Terry O’Toole Theatre, which complements other state-of-the-art drama facilities that we offer.

The academy also has excellent access to a range of external services to support mental wellbeing, such as Healthy Minds and CAMHS. Additionally, as part of the school’s Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations (SEND), there is the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ model which is used to help and monitor students who may be struggling. Check out our SEND information report to find out more about what we have to offer our young people. http://nkacademy.co.uk/parents/special-educational-needs-disabilities/

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we will also promote the values our colleges hold dear to help students achieve a better way of life within the academy and in their personal lives. These values include remembering to be courageous, to be respectful, to have ambition, and to have strength; particularly in times when students may need it most.

We thought it would be a good idea to end this blog with a few helpful tips for young people on how to handle the stresses of exams and take care of your mental health…

  1. Little and often

Don’t overload yourself with mountains of revision. This is unproductive and causes unnecessary stress. There’s only so much you can take at any one time! Bite-size chunks are the way forward.

  1. Take breaks

Take some time out. Practise mindfulness, concentrate on your breathing and do something you enjoy. You may feel you don’t have time or you don’t need to, but the truth is that you do need to if you want to ensure a healthy mindset and the motivation to keep going. Breaks will definitely help you in the long term. Trust us – we’ve all been there!

  1. Talk to people

It’s OK to offload. You may find having a little rant to a loved one or sharing your concerns with a friend who may be going through the same thing as you are will help you gain some perspective. Don’t keep your feelings or worries bottled up – set them free!

  1. Give yourself plenty of time

You have enough pressure to deal with already, so don’t make it worse by running out of time. Try your best to stay ahead of the game; this will allow time for mistakes and any problems. We’re all human, they’re bound to come our way! So just give yourself plenty of time so that you can deal with them in the most stress-free way possible. 

  1. Don’t panic!

We know this is so much easier said than done, but if you feel yourself starting to lose it, just breathe. Take a walk. Don’t waste energy on things you can’t help. While you may be going through a critical time, the world won’t come to an end if the worst happens. So just take some time to chill out and return to the task when you’re ready. And don’t forget, a certain amount of stress is good; it will motivate you to get cracking.

Be the best version of yourself that you can be and just do your best. You’ve got this!