At Monkey Puzzle Tunbridge Wells we recognise the importance of the children and staff’s mental well-being. Our aim is to create an honest, open environment in which all children and adults have the confidence to express how they are feeling and know they can seek further advice and support should they need it.

“If our staff are not 100% at their best, how can we expect them to give 100% to our families and children?”

To support staff with their mental health, we have on display various contact points or strategies to help manage their mental health before it gets overwhelming. Staff have the option to fill in anonymous questionnaires and various other worksheets that give us a clear view on how they are feeling and what can be stressful in the workplace. Staff have the option of flexible breaks and are aware that they are able to take 5 minutes away from a situation if they feel it is overwhelming for them.

If a staff member is concerned about their mental health, they are aware of who to go to for further advice. Our mental health mentor is able to put the member of staff onto a wellness action plan which gives us a breakdown of how we can support that staff member, what may trigger bad mental health and signs to look out for if we think they may be struggling.

Our mental health mentor will also encourage staff to take part in various activities to promote positive mental well-being. For example, in our last team meeting, the staff wrote down one thing they like about all of the other team. This meant each staff member had a piece of paper with lots of positive views that others had written about them. At the end, the staff were encouraged to write down 3 things they were grateful for. Expressing gratitude can improve your mood and make you more optimistic. People who regularly express gratitude are shown to be happier overall which leads to lower rates of stress and depression.

It is extremely important to promote positive mental well-being with the children. We do this by checking in with the children every day on how their feeling by using our interactive emotions board. We will have open, group discussions while doing this. We often also take part in yoga sessions to help keep the children grounded and have time to relax.