STUDENTS and staff are being encouraged to take care of themselves after their school made a host of changes to make sure mental health is prioritised.

A new initiative has been launched at Maltings Academy, in Witham, with every classroom now stocked with information on mental health issues.

An area has also been introduced for pupils to talk to mental health first aiders during break and lunchtimes, while the staff room has been transformed into a relaxing area with details on dealing with stress.

Carrie Hicks, wellbeing co-ordinator at the school, said: "In changing times when it is full-on for children, I do not envy children or teaching staff right now who are taking on more roles than ever.

"The staff room is no longer a work room; it now features lots of plants such as lavender to create a calming environment.

"Each term, there will be a different theme and focus.

"We are also looking to set up an outdoor wellbeing area. Our art students are making wind chimes and writing messages on rocks for the area.

"It would be great if parents or members of the community would be able to donate items to help us to create this positive space."

The school in Spinks Lane is working towards achieving a national award by meeting objectives and spreading five ways to wellbeing.

They are to be active and exercise, connect with family and friends and others, take notice and savour the moment, to keep learning and give - for example, do something nice for a friend or stranger.

Carrie said: "We are completing this award as it is a way of encouraging everyone to address mental health and wellbeing.

"There is an increase in anxiety, self-harm and mental health issues among young people today.

"As teachers, we can work with anxiety and help children to own that with the right tools."

Maltings is hoping to be one of the school the National Children’s Bureau Wellbeing Award for Schools recognises as helping youngsters with their mental health.

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