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Wellbeing, warm drinks and waggy tails: mental health takes centre stage at Westminster
9 February 2024

Pupil-led events as part of Children’s Mental Health Week, included everything from yoga to animal therapy to senior teachers making candy floss.

The week devoted to raising awareness and encouraging wellbeing, in February, included a variety of fun activities for pupils; focusing especially on nurturing mind, body, and spirit. 

Over the course of the week, there were several activities up Yard, including a daily ‘Hot Chocolate and Chat’, giving pupils the opportunity to keep warm, unwind and catch up with their friends – a popular activity despite the cold weather. Monday lunchtime also saw pupils enjoy candyfloss, served by senior teachers, “with impressive expertise and a certain joie de vivre”, according to the Head Master. 

A session in Weston’s saw the intricate beauty of henna artistry, with pupils able to have their hands decorated.  

In Sutcliff’s, Art Therapy provided pupils a creative outlet to explore their emotions and express themselves through painting. Meanwhile, in the tranquil setting of Ashburnham Garden, pupils experienced the comfort of animal therapy with dogs. 

Elsewhere, the week included yoga, a Japanese bake sale, a mental health discussion and talk on managing stress, meditation, and a dedicated relax and unwind room in the chapel. 

As Mental Health Week drew to a close, it was clear that pupils had benefitted from the reminder of the importance of self-care, empathy, and community support in nurturing a positive mental health culture.  

At the end of the week, Mr Simon Crow, Teacher of Art who led the art therapy sessions, said: “It was lovely to see pupils engaging in such a creative, expressive and aesthetic experience. Art therapy has taught pupils to see painting as a meditational activity, as it promotes the mindfulness of zen philosophy – that only the single moment exists, nothing else matters for that period of time” 

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