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Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week
Connecting with Nature

Thank you to the entire Canford Community for their involvement in the Mental Health Foundation Mental Health Awareness Week, which took place from 10th – 16th May. The focus for this year was connecting with nature. A recent study reported that two out of three people said that being close to nature meant they experienced positive emotions. The national week provided the opportunity to take part in some fun initiatives and reflect on the importance of connecting with nature, along with exploring many other ways pupils and staff can positively benefit their mental health.

The school library launched the week with two new displays, ‘Top 10 books to inspire you to connect with nature’ and ‘Poetry to calm the mind.’ Our new Wellbeing Pupil Leaders, Emma and Welly, organised a stage outside The Layard Theatre to encourage outside dancing and singing. It proved to be a big hit amongst pupils and staff! They also set up a table by The Avenue, tunnel of trees, serving snacks and encouraging pupils to spend time outside with their friends and write their feelings in one word on a communal white board.

The national week seemed a very appropriate moment to share heart-warming news of a gift presented to Canford earlier this term. Mr Darren Wheeler RPT, a friend of Canford Arboriculturalist Chris Bartlett, wanted to thank the school for supplying him with some wood for his bespoke sculptures at Bearwood Turnery Dorset Fairytale Workshop by Darren Wheeler RPT Aiming to provide something which could be used by the whole school community, Darren created a wonderful ‘Fairy Tale bench’ complete with elaborate wood carvings at each side which has been placed in the wooded area behind the Music School for pupils and staff to enjoy in a moment of quiet reflection, a chat with a friend or to simply get away from the bustle of school life for a few moments.

Headmaster Ben Vessey said:

“We are so grateful for this wonderful, thoughtful gift which I have no doubt took many hours to craft. The bench is already being put to good use by pupils and I am sure it will be a place many will be drawn to providing inspiration and positivity drawn from the natural world. We are hoping Darren will join us at the end of term to give a demonstration of his wood carving skills. In the meantime, do enjoy sitting on the bench when you pass.”

Thank you to our photographer, Paul West Paul West Photography for taking these wonderful photographs during Mental Health Week.

Head of Wellbeing Melissa Clinton commented:

‘This national week gave us the opportunity to boost mental health and wellbeing across our school community in many different and original ways. I hope everyone who took part felt the benefits of spending a few moments connecting with nature outdoors during the hectic school week to do something for themselves, whether it be fun dancing, enjoying a homemade brownie, chatting on our new fairy tale bench in the woods or relaxing with a new book. We are very fortunate to have so much green space across the campus in which we live and work. It was lovely to see so many staff and pupils smiling and laughing around the grounds as we marked this event.’ 

Our new Wellbeing Pupil Leaders, Emma and Welly said:

‘Mental Health Week went really well with feel good music on 'Tune up Tuesday' and some snacks to make everyone feel better on Thursday lunchtime (because who doesn't love a snack!) We hope everyone had a good time and was able to get outside and connect with nature. We will continue to help support our peers with different ways to manage their own wellbeing and mental health.’


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