They were all yellow – Sunderland pupils let sunshine in to promote good mental health

Bright day at Grangetown Primary School.
Bright day at Grangetown Primary School.
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Youngsters at a Sunderland primary had a sunny glow when they said Hello Yello.

The children at Grangetown Primary School took part in national #HelloYellow Day, wearing yellow to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health.

Grangetown Primary youngsters hold their Hello Yellow Day to promote good mental health.

Grangetown Primary youngsters hold their Hello Yellow Day to promote good mental health.

An idea for the day was by the Young Minds charity and it took place on World Mental Health Day.

The pupils loved wearing their bright colours, and also took part in an assembly and in workshops about their feelings, self-esteem, how to take care of themselves and each other, and how to be a good friend.

Les McAnaney, headteacher at the Spelterworks Road school, said the idea to get involved in supporting the event came from Sharon Boyd, who works for IMPACT North East. Sharon and her team, a non-profit community interest company, based in the East End of Sunderland, have worked with Grangetown Primary School for four years, providing counselling services for children and families when they need it most.

And, as well as counselling, they also run anti-bullying sessions, and offer family support work, mentoring and parenting classes.

It’s vital to find engaging ways to help children think about and consider the issues around mental health

Les McAnaney

As part of their #HelloYellow work, the children looked at ways to help other children if they are feeling sad, how to deal with their own feelings and emotions, and how to be a good friend.

On the day, the children all wore yellow - either a whole outfit, or one item of clothing, or even just a hair ribbon or a pair of socks.

Mr McAnaney said they all agreed that the colour yellow made everyone feel a lot brighter and he felt the day was a huge success.

The headteacher said: “It’s vital to find engaging ways to help children think about and consider the issues around mental health.

Pupils wear yellow to promote mental health awareness.

Pupils wear yellow to promote mental health awareness.

“School isn’t just about the academic curriculum - it’s about self-esteem, social skills, confidence building, and about helping children develop coping strategies when they’re feeling down or when they think things are going wrong for them.

“This was a non-uniform day, and everyone made a small contribution. As ever, parents and carers were generous in their donations, with the money raised to be split between the Young Minds charity, and IMPACT North East.”

As a spin-off from the day, the Grangetown children are now setting-up a friendly team of Playground Buddies.

Their role is to be a caring presence on the playground and to help other children if they’re looking sad or down.

Year 2 teacher Hayley Dolan, Grangetown’s PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) Coordinator, is leading the Buddy group and is very impressed with the calibre of the applications from the youngsters.

She said: “The children are so enthusiastic and so keen to help each other. With our Buddies in place, we’ll make sure there’s always a supportive friend on the playground, for everyone.”