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Smithton Primary School pupils embrace mental well-being studies and raise a huge sum for the nearby Haven Centre, being built as Scotland's first multi-purpose centre for young people with learning disabilities and complex needs


By Alasdair Fraser


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left to right: Ellie White, Olly Forsyth, Amy Robertson, Harvey Francis, Ava Flint.
left to right: Ellie White, Olly Forsyth, Amy Robertson, Harvey Francis, Ava Flint.

Pupils at an Inverness primary school have been learning all about mental well-being – and raising cash for a good cause.

Smithton Primary, led by principal teacher Scott Hardie, has placed focus on the promotion of good mental health as part of its school improvement programme.

The aim has been to help staff, pupils and their families understand what mental well-being actually is, and what we can all do to look after our mental health.

Much of what they have been learning is based upon the 5 Ways to Wellbeing model embracing the principles of: Be Active, Keep Learning, Give, Take Notice and Connect).

Mr Hardie explained: “As well as learning about this in our classrooms, we set pupils and their families a well-being challenge. This involved doing a number of different wellbeing-enhancing activities at home.

“Pupils have engaged very well and responded very positively to this work, both at school and with their families at home.

“The hope is this will help them begin to develop a lifelong skill of self-care along with the ability to protect their own mental wellbeing.”

Sponsorship of activities has raised an impressive £1500 for The Haven Centre, currently under construction across the road from the school.

When the £4.1 million project is complete it will become Scotland’s first multi-purpose centre for young people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Mr Hardie added: “Our pupils are demonstrating a growing understanding of what mental well-being actually is, along with an appreciation of the importance of taking personal responsibility for looking after it.

“Hopefully, this understanding will be of benefit to them as they grow up and have to learn how to cope with the challenges that life can often bring.”

A group of P6 pupils at the school passed on the following comments: “Mental wellbeing happens when you do something that makes you feel good and happy.

“The Wellbeing Challenge was good because it was nice to give your brain a break from all your stress.

“It helps you focus on the present moment and not to worry about the past or the future.”


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