The weakest link?
I'd like to say that I'm an active promoter, educator and supporter of mental health. Supporting charities and raising awareness in school, with the staff and pupils, on widely celebrated dates and events.
However, I saw a post on Twitter about the phrase 'manning up'; and then read the post about the teacher from Bristol who took his own life; alongside the article on a time to change and I'm sure there is many more examples of the stigma surrounding mental health among males.
All this began to link in with my role. I started to think about the children who wont/cant admit to having a fear or being scared about anything, those children who can not identify a weakness or something that could be improved, those children who place emphasis on others perception of them. ALL of these children are male. We are witnessing and experiencing this everyday in school, and I'm sure this is not just in the school that I work in. The impression of what a man/boy should be is already impacting on children as young as 5, impacting on their ability to develop and grow, to understand themselves and be secure and safe with knowing all of who they are.
No doubt there will be many contributing factors to this, and I am not delusional to think that I can change their mindset or undo the long term impact of this, but what I do want to do is be more aware, be more knowledgeable and in turn be able to have more of an impact on the children that I support.
So, what tools would you use to help these children? What role models can I use to show them that fear is fine for men? How can this be integrated into school characteristics and everyday learning? Do you see this in your setting? How do you tackle it? Is this specifically covered in your Mental Health Policy?
I'd be interested in how other schools, charities and organisations support mental health in boys.