A Multi-Academy Trust with 30 schools across the North East has stepped up to take part in this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (13 May – 19 May). This year’s theme is ‘Moving more for our mental health’ as research shows that regular physical activity can reduce anxiety and stress and help us sleep better. By building movement into the working day, it can have a positive impact on focus and productivity too.

Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust has 25 primary schools and five secondaries across East Durham, South Tyneside and Sunderland. Ensuring all the Trust’s staff and pupils are supported with their mental health and wellbeing is extremely important to the Trust all year round not only during Mental Health Awareness Week, however, this year’s theme has proved a great opportunity to bring teams together.

St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School in Jarrow is a perfect example of how the Trust is taking on this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme with gusto, positivity and a little healthy competition!

The school has recently started the St Matty’s Marchers step challenge this half-term, which will continue until the May half-term holiday. All school staff have been invited to take part and are sharing their weekly step counts on a leaderboard. The leaderboard includes personal bests for individuals, weekly step counts and overall step counts.

Not only is the challenge a great way to motivate people to move more with all the associated physical and mental health benefits, but there are also prizes to be won including treats such as having break duties covered – one that is sure to be snapped up on gloomier days!

Some staff members have started running together after school, while others are using it as a good opportunity to get back into a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Headteacher Eve Alderson said, “Staff wellbeing is so important and being active is a fantastic way to promote positive mental wellbeing. The challenge has really encouraged staff to move more and they have really enjoyed the friendly competition element, along with the opportunity to improve their health and wellbeing. It has created a real buzz around the school. Some staff have started jogging together and we are also planning a staff hike in the coming weeks.

For more information, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.