Top factor that contributes to poor Mental Health

This is a true story.

It was the Autumn Term. It was Harvest. It was Monday morning and the children came in and added to the table in my classroom to celebrate the event. I had started the table with fruit and vegetables knowing that the gifts from my class of pupils would substantially be crisps and Jammy Dodgers! 

Once settled, I launched into my planned words – thanks, gifts, beauty, wonderful, variety, fortunate etc- in an age appropriate way. I am sure you have done the same.

And then one pupil; Marcus, went from fidgeting to chair rocking,
from table kicking to an outburst of anger,
then tears.

Was it something I had said? Too right!

Marcus had his last meal- a bag of chips- on Friday afternoon and, since then, had not eaten.  
The money that came into the home on Friday had already gone.
Marcus was angry and sad, hungry and shamed.

To manage the situation and his classmates, I asked them what we should do.
They said,  ‘he should eat the table’.
So he did – and the children declared it the best harvest table ever!

Poverty is the main contributor to children’s poor mental health and weakened resilience.

How many pupils in your school are in material poverty and how many more in emotional poverty? 

There is a Marcus is in every classroom.
What can we say to them today to tell them that they are important and that they will be OK?
You might like to share this story with your staff. It could bear fruit!