Coping with anxiety – mental health awareness week 2023

Coping with anxiety – Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

Mental Health Awareness Week took place from 15-21 May. This year’s theme was anxiety, and staff and students explored the topic with activities throughout the week.

At the School, we are committed to mental health as equally important as physical health. Students have access to in-house counsellors and are supported to recognise when they are struggling and reach out for help. Staff take part in a regular well-being committee to discuss ways of supporting our teams to feel mentally well at work and safeguard their own mental health. Staff also have access to an employee assistance programme. Our holistic approach to health is a year-round commitment, but it’s always useful to take part in events that give us and our students new ideas and tools to use every day.

Learning and encouragement

This week, our School Counsellor, Lucy Bailie, and Mental Health Lead, Christian Uitzinger, sent daily emails to all staff and students to ensure the topic was foremost in everyone’s mind. They focused on helping readers identify anxiety, feel reassured, and openly discuss their mental health. Emails included information on what anxiety actually is, how everyone experiences it differently, and tips on managing it, from body scanning and box breathing to connecting with friends or spending time in nature. The emails also reflected on whether there was a higher incidence of anxiety observed in dancers and how we might combat this together. 

Wellbeing activities

Our students enjoyed taking part in activities based on mental health and anxiety. They focussed on the Five Ways of Well-being: Being Active, Giving Thanks, Connecting, Keeping Learning and Taking Notice. There were plenty of fun activities to get involved with:

  • Hula hooping to explore the link between movement and feeling positive
  • Treasure hunts encouraging students to observe their surroundings
  • Creating a good mood playlist to share with friends and family.

We also encouraged students to take some reflective time and list what they are grateful for in a gratitude jar. 

Our students’ well-being is at the heart of everything we do at the School, and it was gratifying to see our students’ proactive approach towards their mental wellness.