Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Resources

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Supporting�o� MentaloHealth� andoWellbeing Supporting good mental health and emotional wellbeing is a key priority for us at Marlborough College. We believe that young people learn most effectively when they feel emotionally safe, resilient, and supported by trusted adults in all aspects of their wellbeing. We also believe that the skills which young people learn in adolescence, in terms of sustaining good mental health AND in terms of taking appropriate action when things go wrong, are skills which can be taken forward into university and well beyond into adult life.

We know there are challenges ahead in the short and medium term, not least important academic ones. We want to help you build perspective. Learning how to learn, and to enjoy learning, is important for adult life: the specific content of school exams is not!

We also know that our pupils, their families and wider communities, are living through an unprecedented experience: that of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Much has been written in the press about the potential impact of the health crisis, and of quarantine and lockdown, on the mental wellbeing of young people. We are determined to do all we can to support the mental health of our pupils.

We want to help you to prioritise your mental health and wellbeing: it’s not an optional add-on, but underpins all that you do!

This means: • C ontinuing to develop resilience through appropriate challenges • P romoting connection and engagement with one another and the wider world • Encouraging spiritual and physical wellbeing • H elping pupils to look forward with ambition and confidence to the future. It also means building the skills necessary for meeting some of the challenges and uncertainties that the short-term future might bring.

Our message to pupils: We want to help you to thrive, enjoy and be fulfilled in whatever you do, both at Marlborough College and beyond. We want to help you to become happy, healthy young adults, who can cope with life’s challenges and setbacks as well as recognising and celebrating achievements and successes. We want to help you build your confidence and self-esteem, so that you learn to trust and value yourself, as well as trusting and valuing others. We want to give you the opportunity to make lasting friendships and know how to build networks of support to sustain you.

The Pastoral Hub The Pastoral Hub is a newly created area for pupils to access help and support. The following members of the pastoral team can be found there and are available to discuss all aspects of pastoral care and pupil wellbeing. Deputy Head (Pastoral) – Mr Ed Nightingale Head of Boarding – Mrs Julia Hodgson Director of Safeguarding – Mrs Christine Kane Secretary (Pastoral Hub) – Mrs Arlene Edwards The Pastoral Hub is located on the ground floor of A House. There are sofas to relax on and (sometimes) good things to eat. Pupils, staff and parents are always welcome to come and share ideas or raise concerns about pastoral matters Wellbeing Ambassadors A newly selected team of pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors (WBAs) have started working to improve the wellbeing and mental health of the pupil body. Pupils are welcome to contact them about ideas or concerns they have to do with pastoral care, pupil wellbeing and mental health. They are contactable via email:

Five ways to wellbeing At Marlborough College we talk about a five-part model of wellbeing which is commonly used, based on really sound research and is just as useful and sustainable for adults as teenagers: Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning, and Give.

Connect... With the people around you. With family, friends, tutors, beaks, HM, Dame and others in the House team. Think of these relationships as the cornerstones of your life at College and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be Active... Go for a walk or a run or a swim. Go to the gym. Play sport. Dance! Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your skills and fitness.

Take Notice... Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to lessons or activities, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep Learning... Try something new. Follow up an interest. Read something! Go to a talk here or the library or a concert.t. Offer to take on new responsibilities. Learn how to play a song or to cook your favourite food, or how to fix something. Get creative! Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Give... Do something nice for a friend, or for someone you don’t know. Thank someone. Smile. Send a note or a card or a text and make someone’s day. Offer to help out, or volunteer your time or skills. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.


Lots of what we do at the College is designed to support good mental health and wellbeing, but we know that sometimes young people need additional support to manage their experiences and feelings. It is absolutely right and appropriate to ask for help when things are hard to manage, or you feel overwhelmed and are struggling. What you feel you can cope with is an entirely individual feeling, and will depend on your own experiences and situation. Don’t compare yourself to other people and what you think they can manage: ACT when your instinct tells you that things are not right

There are a range of people you can talk to: ■

Y our HM is almost always the best starting point, or your tutor or the Dame – or indeed any of the house tutors – you may feel you get on better with someone who is not your ‘official’ tutor. This is absolutely normal; anyone on the house pastoral team will be able and willing to help you. Sometimes a listening ear or alternative perspective is all that is needed. At other times, the HM or tutor or Dame may direct you to more expert or specialist support. T he counselling team: contact Katia Houghton for an appointment. The counselling service is free and confidential. You can have as many or as few sessions as you want – communication will be with you directly and you are in control. The counsellors are based in the Sani (Medical Centre) and in other rooms around the College and it is usual to have appointments either weekly or fortnightly. Sometimes there may be a short wait before the counsellors can offer you an appointment. They will be able to keep in touch with you, or point you towards some other support in the meantime.

The nurses and doctors in the Medical Centre (Sani). If you feel out of sorts or unable to cope, it may be helpful to talk through what is ‘normal’ and when something may be medically wrong with a health professional. All the staff who work at the College are committed to the best outcomes in terms of mental health for pupils, and all understand the importance of emotional wellbeing in underpinning your ability to thrive in all that you do, academic and otherwise.

T he Chaplain: Again, sometimes a listening ear and the chance of an alternative perspective may be all that is needed to help you feel more positive about things. It can be useful to

talk through how you are feeling, to make things more clear for yourself, or simply to let off steam. Talking to the Chaplain is confidential; he has a study in the Medawar Centre, near to the Rose Garden door. Revd Novis can be contacted at: or on 01672 892 209. ■

A ny member of the Management Team: We have all had experience in boarding houses and many years of working with and listening to pupils. We are always able to give you time for a chat – or give you a time which suits your schedule and commitments – and we are all based in the Medawar Centre, so are easy to find. We all understand how important it is that you feel emotionally and mentally healthy, to give yourself the best chance of thriving at Marlborough.

O lder pupils, including Prefects, Heads of Houses, Sacristans and captains. Sometimes it can be helpful to talk things through with people who have gone through similar experiences to yourself, and recently.

Remember: we aim to be a ‘talking school’. You will never be criticised for raising a concern or worry or question, however silly it seems to you. It is ALWAYS better to ask for help than suffer in silence.


There is a wealth of information available, including Apps, websites, podcasts and books, about how to support good mental health and wellbeing and what to do if you are concerned that things are not right. We are always keen to learn from your experience, so if you know of an App, website, podcast, speaker or whatever…that works for you, tell us about it and we will include it in this list!

Apps These are all downloadable to your phone and come recommended by pupil users. They are all available from the AppStore and most are free. Apps can help you with meditation and mindfulness, good sleep, relaxation, managing anger and difficult emotions. Apps like MeeTwo and For Me use social media to connect you with peer mentors and counsellors, in an easy-to-use and anonymous way, so that you can get advice and support quickly and safely.

Action for Happiness <click here> This app is like having a little personal action coach in your pocket who gives you friendly ‘nudges’ with an action idea each day, sends you inspiring messages to give you a boost and helps you connect & share ideas with like-minded people.

Three Good Things <click here> It’s been shown that if you write down three good things that happen to you everyday, your happiness and positivity increase. Three Good Things, a happiness journal, enables you to do exactly that.

MeeTwo <click here> Whether you are worried about school, climate change, or falling out with friends, don’t bottle it up. The award winning MeeTwo app is a safe space where you can talk about your anxieties with people who are just like you. The app is free, anonymous and confidential so you can talk about virtually anything and you’ll get advice from other young people who have often had the same experience.

In the world today, society tends to focus on the negative. Rather than remembering all of the good things in their lives, people often focus on the things which they don’t like. With Three Good Things, you can rewire your brain to focus on the positive by writing down good things that happen to you everyday. By finding positive things that happen in your daily life, you train your mind to notice the good things in life instead of allowing it to focus on the negative.

For Me: the Childline App <click here>

Headspace <click here>

From advice to message boards, you can now get everything you need from Childline in an app. It’s quick, easy and you can lock it with a PIN. You can use it to talk to Childline whenever – and wherever – you need to.

This is a subscription app which focuses on mindfulness and healthy habits. It offers sets of guided meditations aimed at tackling problems related to anxiety, sleeplessness, and relationships.

If you’re lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms. ■

Calm <click here> Calm-down strategies or grounding techniques can be used at times of anxiety to help you reorient yourself, and keep you in the present moment. Most of the techniques on this subscription app are discreet enough to be used in ordinary everyday situations, including during exams. They work best if you practise them when you feel calmer and then apply them in situations in which you feel anxious.

You might find the following techniques helpful:

Calm down before you get anxious One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary stress is to look after your general emotional wellbeing. This means paying attention to what your mind and body need: eating and sleeping sensibly, and making sure there is a balance between work and relaxation in your life. When you are calm you could make a list of the things that you can do to calm or soothe yourself when you are stressed (like going for a walk, listening to music or talking to a friend). You could also think about devising your own calm-down or self-care box. You can put things in your box which you know will soothe or cheer you up when you are feeling stressed. For example: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

favourite sweets or chocolate a stress ball a book that matters to you a sachet of hot chocolate photos of people you care about or places you love rescue remedy tissues a reminder to call a friend if you feel sad.

You will know best what should go in your personalised calm-down kit.

Mix, match, adapt, experiment Not every technique works for everyone. The following are suggestions for you to try out and adapt, or you may be able to think of something that works better for you.

1. Simple grounding technique Place both feet flat on the floor. Lean back into your chair, and take note of the feeling of the chair under you and against your back. Cross your arms over your chest. Gently tap your shoulders, alternating one side at a time. Alternatively, you can place your hands on your thighs if you are in public, tapping one leg at a time. Although not as effective as shoulder tapping, this technique can still calm you down.

Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. B reathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five. You may not be able to reach five at first. T hen, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from one to five again, if you find this helpful. K eep doing this for three to five minutes (or shorter, if you simply need to ground yourself).

3. Sensory 5–4–3–2–1 exercise Look at your surroundings and identify: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

5 things you can see 4 things you can feel 3 things you can hear 2 things you can smell 1 thing you can taste (it might just be the taste of your tongue!).

4. Rhythmic 4–7–8 breathing The method we call ‘4–7–8 breathing’ also requires you to be sitting or lying down comfortably. 1. Put one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. 2. B reathe in slowly but deeply. Take 4 seconds to breathe in, feeling your stomach move in the process. 3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. 4. B reathe out for 8 seconds, as silently as you can manage. Once you reach a count of 8, you should have completely emptied your lungs of air. 5. R epeat as many times as you need, making sure to stick to the 4–7–8 pattern.

5. Five-finger breathing 1. S pread your hand and stretch your fingers out like a star. You can choose your left hand or your right hand. Pretend the pointer finger of your other hand is a pencil and imagine you are going to trace around the outline of your hand and fingers. 2. S tart at the bottom of your thumb and slide your finger up your thumb, pause at the top, and then slide your finger down the other side. Now slide your pointer up your second finger, pause, and slide down the other side. Continue tracing your fingers up, pause, and down. Slide your finger slowly, watch your finger move and notice how it feels. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fifth finger (pinky). 3. N ow you are ready to add some breathing. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Remember to keep it slow and steady.

You can do this standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor.

4. P lace your pointer finger at the bottom of your thumb, and breathe in as you slide up. Breathe out as you slide down. Breathe in as you slide up your second finger, and breathe out as you slide down. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fingers and you have taken five slow breaths.

Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.

5. H ow does your body feel now? Do you feel calm or would you like to take another five?

2. Breathing exercise

Slumber <click here>

Sleepiest <click here>

A subscription app of Dream Stories, meditations and sleep sounds to guide you into sleep and relaxation

Sleepiest has developed a large collection of both free and premium bedtime sounds, stories and meditations proven to help you fall asleep.


Anna Freud <click here>

The Royal College of Psychiatrists <click here>

The Anna Freud centre has lots of resources for both parents AND young people, particularly some aimed at dealing with the disruption of the loss of and then the return to school.

Highly readable advice on a wide range of mental health issues from A to Z (well, W…). This website contains information for young people, parents and carers, about young people’s mental health, written by psychiatrists and young people working together. The Royal College of Psychiatrists believes everyone needs to make informed decisions about their health, and aims to produce information which is evidence-based, accessible and up to date.

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust <click here> Many pupils and parents will know Dick Moore, who has visited Marlborough College many times, as well as many prep schools and conferences. He talks to pupils (in the Hundred) and has also presented to the annual Parents’ Pastoral Conference, as well as training staff through the Youth Mental Health First Aid course. Dick also works for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and their website features webinars, training, articles and research.

Young Minds <click here> The mission of Young Minds is to ‘make sure that all young people get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s challenges’. Their vision is to ‘lead the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges’. The website contains loads of good, clear information about specific mental health issues and conditions, as well as advice on looking after yourself and about seeking help. This includes a guide to CAMHS and information about medication.

Calmzone <click here> Heads together <click here>


We know that parents are committed to supporting their children’s mental health and wellbeing. The links in this section focus on parenting advice, with a specific focus on the extraordinary challenges of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic, including disruption to school life, ‘lockdown’ in the UK and elsewhere, isolation with families and increased screen time. It is always right to seek medical advice if you, or your child, are concerned about their mental wellbeing. In a crisis, please ring the NHS urgent and emergency care number: 111

Several health authorities have produced great PDFs with plenty of useful advice as well as links for both parents and young people to many of the main mental health charities, containing further information and resources. #Coping – Family life during the lockdown Berkshire healthcare NHS <click here> Public health <click here> Oxleas NHS <click here>

MindEd <click here> MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people’s mental health for all adults. Are you a parent or carer who is concerned about the mental health of your child or teenager? Do you just want some hints and tips on parenting? MindEd for Families has advice and information from trusted experts and will help you to understand what problems occur, what you can do to best support your family, and how to take care of yourself. MindEd for Families is written by a team of specialists and parents, working together. You do not need to register to use these resources.

Young Minds <click here> This is a really challenging time for families. Parents have experienced a sudden change in their lives and routines. They are also balancing children being home more often or full time alongside their jobs, employment and health worries, financial concerns and care for vulnerable family members. This is inevitably going to feel stressful at times, particularly as the situation slowly returns to normal. Remember, it’s okay if things don’t always feel okay at the moment.

Adolescent Mental Health These links look more generally at adolescent mental health, including how to support your child and where to find help when things feel as if they are going wrong.

As parents, there are things you can do to help daily life feel as manageable as possible for you and your family. Have a look at these top tips and activity ideas to help you set up a routine that works for you. The School of Life <click here> Short videos on YouTube plus articles online. The School of Life is dedicated to exploring the great questions of emotional and psychological life. They believe in developing emotional well-being through ideas and discussion. Mind <click here>

NSPCC <click here> Keeping children safe. Support for parents on mental health and parenting

Creative Education <click here> An internationally respected face of child and adolescent mental health, Pooky Knightsmith works tirelessly to ‘be the change she wants to see’. A prolific keynote speaker, lecturer, trainer and author, she develops and shares practical, evidence-informed approaches to promoting mental health. Creative Education offers free courses each month; simply register on the site.

BBC Bitesize <click here> Five ways to manage your wellbeing as a parent during lockdown

Her own website contains short and informative video resources: see ‘Parenting in a pandemic’! <click here>

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Sometimes, things can feel completely overwhelming, even hopeless. It is really important to seek urgent help if you, or anyone you know, feels like this. It can feel really distressing when things feel out of control – and it is vital to get support from others who can help you and keep you safe. These links focus on supporting young people in distress and in crisis.

ZSA <click here>

Papyrus <click here> Papyrus is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. Their HOPELINEUK is open Weekdays 9am-10pm, Weekends 2pm-10pm: 0800 068 4141

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger The YoungMinds crisis messenger service provides free 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need support, you can Text: YM to 85258 (in the UK) YoungMinds aims to connect every texter to a trained volunteer in less than 5 minutes to provide support in a crisis. They will listen to you and help you think through how you’re feeling, and will aim to help you take the next steps towards feeling better. Many people, especially younger people, don’t like talking on the phone and would feel much more comfortable texting. Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, TescoMobile and Telecom Plus.

The ZSA is funded by the Dept of Health and Social Care. The website allows you to access training that is quick and free. The Step Up module is a brief introduction to social isolation, and how to help someone who might be isolated. The module covers adjusting to the new normal following Coronavirus.

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