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NHS’ Fantastic FRED to help Kent primary school children look after their own mental health

User AvatarPosted by Amanda Crawford at 21/05/2019 14:58:04

A live, interactive theatre show in a pop-up inflatable classroom is helping Kent’s school children learn simple and memorable ways to look after their own mental health.

As part of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the county’s NHS clinical commissioning groups held the public launch of Fantastic FRED at Chilton Primary School in Ramsgate on Friday 17 May 2019.

Fantastic FRED is an educational theatre show for pupils in Years 1 to 6 that’s delivered by an experienced schools theatre company.

The letters in FRED's name represent the areas of educational focus:

  • Food: Eating the right foods
  • Rest: Getting enough sleep
  • Exercise: Being active
  • Digital: Managing time spent online.

Rachel Jones, Chair, Kent Children & Young People Mental Health & Wellbeing Transformation Board, said: "The NHS believes that it is essential to reach primary school-aged children and teach them positive ways to look after their mental health.

“By providing support through our primary schools, we aim to prevent many young people from developing mental health challenges as they get older."

Dr Jihad Malasi, local GP and Chair of Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “From my experience as a GP it is really important that we help children behave in ways that make them feel healthier and happier as young as possible.

“It was great to see how the children enjoyed the performance and I am sure they will remember that eating well, exercising, resting and using their digital devices sensibly is good for them.

“If we can help children learn these behaviours early on at school, all the evidence shows that it will help them feel better about themselves as they grow up – after all prevention is better than cure.”

Jane O’Rourke, Head of Commissioning for mental health services for children in east Kent, said: “As head of the team that commissions mental health services for children in east Kent I knew that there wasn’t much material that talked to primary school children about mental health.

“The NHS in Kent wanted something that all children could relate to and having seen how the children here in Ramsgate reacted to Fantastic FRED I am confident that Kent’s primary school aged children will really benefit when they get to see the show over the next two years.”

Michaela Gale, Wellbeing Lead at Chilton Primary, described the show as “brilliant” and added: “It is a fabulous way to encourage children to learn about what supports their mental health at a young age. It can only reap positive rewards which is excellent news.”

Viking Academy Trust Executive Head Teacher Michaela Lewis said “Developing awareness of children's well-being is at the forefront of the pastoral support all staff at Viking see as a priority.

“Working in partnership with the NHS and other organisations like Headstart, can only strengthen the work we do in school to support our children and families on a daily basis.”