World Mental Health Day fell on Sunday 10th October this year, an initiative that has been running for 30 years, but in recent years, the topic has become less of a taboo.
The theme this year is ‘Mental Health in an unequal world’. Everybody should have access to support, and mental health can affect anybody, despite how successful you are or despite your background, your postcode, and so on. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the negative effects that isolation, uncertainty, grief, financial difficulties, and not going out into fresh air, can have on our mental health.
With that in mind, we explore what Kids Planet staff and children can do to improve their own mental health, as well as what parents can get involved in.
At Kids Planet, we are incredibly focused on the children’s interests being at the heart of everything we do. At all our nurseries, we ensure a calm environment; a neutral, well-thought-out space to support and extend children’s learning, both in and outdoors. Each nursery has an on-site, qualified chef with an in-depth understanding of nutrition, food hygiene, and menu planning. We devise varied menu plans each season, reflecting diverse cultures to broaden our children’s experience of the wider world. During meal times, we create a relaxed, homely environment, using tablecloths, centrepieces, and gentle music.
Kids Planet also provides learning resources and activities for parents to encourage little ones to Play and learn at home, such as learning through play, rhyme time, and mindful moments such as story-time, relaxation and breathing, self-recognition, and much more.
We recently caught up with Leanne Angel, owner of Baby Gro Ltd, in our podcast on mental health. Baby Gro specializes in baby massage and baby yoga, which Leanne explains helps not only the babies but the parents and carers.
Both of these activities promote bonding between the baby and the carer. The massage involves tiny little moves which help with things such as reflux, colic, lack of sleep, and wind, and baby yoga stimulates the brain and body, helping improve areas such as learning and social development, balance, and motor skills.
It is also beneficial for parents and carers who can see a genuine difference in their children and can improve their own mental health with time out in classes, having a clear goal, and enjoying the social aspect, and connecting with other parents and carers who are in the same position.
In our most recent podcast on mental health, we also chatted to Lucie Sweeney, Wellbeing Manager at Kids Planet. She explained that supporting the mental health and wellbeing of staff across the organization is integral. We recognize that our colleagues are our biggest asset and that looking after our staff is so important.
Full-time workers generally work around 40 hours a week. Most of our lives are spent working so it’s really important to feel good at work. At Kids Planet, our nurseries have remained open most of the time during the pandemic, which is brilliant, yet it can be a challenging job. We know how important food is and rest.
All staff members have an hours lunch break that they can use flexibly. We provide fresh fruit every week to the Head Office and every nursery. From free lunches, beans, crumpets, bread, cups of tea, we know a lot of our staff are working parents who don’t always have time to prepare lunch, and we understand how important it is to fuel yourself.
We are also rolling out a programme of training for all managers and senior leadership teams to become Mental Health First Aiders – the only course accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health. The course equips people to be able to spot the signs and symptoms and increase our knowledge and understanding to provide in-work support and signpost to professional services.
For this year’s World Mental Health Day, Head Office staff have been raising awareness and raising money for the Mental Health Foundation, wearing the green ribbon ‘#PinItForMentalHealth’.
One of the themes from this year’s World Mental Health Day is encouraging everyone to do one small thing in the pursuit of raising awareness of mental health.
You can get involved with Mind’s ‘Do One Thing’ campaign and find out ways to support their mission to spread the word about mental health inequality, whether that’s through social media or starting a conversation with friends, families, and colleagues about mental health. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #WMHD and #DoOneThing.
You can support friends, family, and colleagues who may be struggling with their mental health by signposting them to local services through the Hub of Hope Search Engine and the NHS local Helpline Finder.
For more information on baby massage and baby yoga, please contact Leanne on 07943142711 or email@example.com.