Mental Health

At Ormiston Denes Academy, we strive to ensure all students are supported so that they are able to achieve their full potential. At our disposal, we have a highly experienced and effective pastoral team, with a broad range of specialist knowledge and understanding. This student-centered integrated team includes:

  • House Teams – Heads of House and Pastoral Support Officers
  • Safeguarding Officer
  • School Counsellor
  • Pathways Manager and Pathways Mentor
  • Disabilities and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (DSENCo)
  • School Nurse

Mental Health First Aiders

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an educational course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue. In the same way as we learn physical first aid, mental health first aid teaches how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health.

The course includes:

  • Spotting the early signs of a mental health problem
  • Raising confidence in helping someone experiencing a problem
  • Providing help on a first aid basis
  • Helping to prevent someone from hurting themselves or others
  • Helping to stop a mental illness from getting worse
  • Helping someone recover faster
  • Guidance towards the right support
  • How to reduce the stigma of mental health problems

Three members of staff completed the MHFA course in 2015:

  • Mrs M Read
  • Mrs A Palmer
  • Ms A Gee

The Youth MHFA course is an internationally recognised course designed specifically for those people that teach, work, live with or care for young people aged 8 to 18 years.

Learning Objectives:

  • Provide information, tools and techniques to promote a young person’s mental and emotional wellbeing
  • Support a young person who might be experiencing mental and emotional distress.

The course is run over two days and is a mix of presentations, discussions and group activities

The course is split into 4 sections:

  1. What is mental health?
  2. Depression and anxiety
  3. Suicide and psychosis
  4. Self-harm and eating disorders.

Within each section there is clear focus on the issues faced by young people, including bullying/cyber bullying and substance misuse. The course also teaches the importance of promoting wellbeing and protective factors.

In each section you learn how to:

  • Spot the early signs of a mental health issue in young people.
  • Feel confident helping a young person experiencing mental ill health.
  • Provide help on a first aid basis.
  • Help protect a young person who might be at risk of harm.
  • Help prevent a mental health issue from getting worse.
  • Help a young person recover faster.
  • Guide a young person towards the right support.
  • Reduce the stigma of mental health issues.

Everyone who attends the course receives a copy of the Youth MHFA manual and workbook, which are both excellent support resources. When the course is completed a certificate is issued to confirm that the member of staff is a trained Youth Mental Health First Aider.


Our school counsellor offers support and a safe place where young people can work through their concerns, problems, confusion and worries.

Some of our students may have additional social, emotional or mental health (SEMH) needs which act as a barrier to learning and progress. Some examples of these difficulties may include:

We work closely with external agencies (including, but not limited to, CAMHS, Access Community Trust and Suffolk Young Carers), but we also recognise the importance of enabling students to recognise and manage their own mental health, and understand the need to seek additional support to prevent issues from escalating.

What is Mental Health?

All students have been issued with this information card:

supporting-your-mental-health-info-cards-14-11-16 reverse

Tips on surviving exams
Getting through exams can be a challenge, but try not to panic. There are ways to beat exam stress and make sure you get the best possible results. Follow the link above to visit NHS Choices’ Live Well website.

You may like to visit the links below for additional support:

Be in your mate’s corner – a new national campaign by Time to Change (March 2017)
In any given year 1 in 10 children will fight a mental health problem.

Our research revealed that while awareness of mental health problems is improving, understanding is still poor in this age group. It also showed that young people have a strong impulse to help and support a friend who might be struggling

Using a series of short films, the In Your Corner campaign shows young people how they can easily support a mate if they are struggling.

Watch the campaign videos
Read our guide for parents

The following helpful and informative downloads are available from :

STOPP leaflets STOPP cards
ACT: Accept, Choose, Take Action!
NOW: Mindfulness for busy people

Time to Change tip cards
Time to change Tip Card

Someone to talk to infocards are available from all house Bases with effect from W/C 08.05.17:
Someone to talk to cards_Page_1 Someone to talk to cards_Page_2

MIND – for better mental health:

MIND provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”

MIND produce a vast range of information booklets, reviewed and informed by people who have experience of mental health problems. These range from ‘How to be mentally healthy at work,’ ‘How to cope as a carer,’ ‘How to cope with student life’ to ‘How to increase your self-esteem,’ ‘How to manage your stress,’ ‘Understanding phobias’ and many more. All available HERE.

Stress Management for Pupils

OAT Mental Health Directory for Staff


Royal College of Psychiatrists
NHS Choices
Young Minds



Extracts from

It’s important to take care of yourself and get the most from life. Below are ten practical ways to look after your mental health. Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up lots of time. Anyone can follow this advice. Why not start today?

1. Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.

Tell me more…

2. Keep active

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

Tell me more…

3. Eat well

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

Tell me more…

4. Drink sensibly

Some people drink alcohol to change their mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.

Tell me more…

5. Keep in touch

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

Tell me more…

6. Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan.

If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.

Local services are there to help you.

Tell me more…

7. Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.
It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.
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8. Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past?
Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem
Tell me more…

9. Accept who you are

We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.
Tell me more…

10. Care for others

‘Friends are really important… We help each other whenever we can, so it’s a two-way street, and supporting them uplifts me.’

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.
Tell me more…