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Long Melford consultancy helps school pupils with wellbeing and personal development with digital support sessions




Two former school nurses have emphasised the importance of educating children about wellbeing and personal development, after adapting its support sessions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

OM Health and Wellbeing, based in Long Melford, initially teamed up with the Unity Schools Partnership at the start of the current year to deliver sessions on issues such as coping with anxiety, internet safety and exam stress.

But after the Covid-19 outbreak forced the closure of some schools in March, the consultancy was forced to modify its programme to an online format, with a focus on helping parents and pupils deal with the stresses of life in lockdown.

Annie O'Neill and Sue Miller from OM consultancy have won an award from Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis for their business consultancy focusing on health and wellbeing for businesses and school. ....PICTURE: Mecha Morton ... (14871532)
Annie O'Neill and Sue Miller from OM consultancy have won an award from Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis for their business consultancy focusing on health and wellbeing for businesses and school. ....PICTURE: Mecha Morton ... (14871532)

Annie O’Neill, who co-founded OM Health and Wellbeing with Sue Miller, said it has been challenging to adapt to the new way of delivering sessions, which support pupils at Thomas Gainsborough School, Woodhall Primary School, Wells Hall Primary School and Glemsford Primary Academy.

She told the Free Press that helping youngsters to focus on their wellbeing during the current crisis was vital, particularly for ensuring they keep physically active and find ways to regularly communicate with their friends.

“It’s tricky for pupils not to be in contact with their peers, but also being stuck at home can have a massive impact on their wellbeing,” she said. “We have been doing a lot of virtual support for pupils, staff and parents.

“It was a challenge because it’s so alien to what we usually do. Everything we do is face to face. Young people are much more technologically-aware than we are, so hopefully, that will help.

“For lots of young people, it’s a real struggle doing work at home, and they don’t want their parents to be teachers.

“We talk a lot about learning life skills, such as learning how to cook, or create something. It doesn’t have to just be about learning from school work.

“A lot of the time, it’s about giving and doing that altruistic act that makes you feel better, and it’s also about taking notice and being aware of the world around us.”

Most recently, in lieu of being able to conduct sex education lessons, the consultancy developed a series of videos for Year 6 students on the subject of puberty, which were sent out to Unity schools on Thursday.

Annie explained that the three videos are intended, in part, as a tool to help parents, many of whom may feel quite embarrassed to discuss the topic with their children.

“Sometimes, it’s quite tricky for parents to have that conversation, but we felt it was still important they get that sort of input,” she added.

“I think it’s vital. Power is knowledge, so making sure they have all the information they need is very important. Otherwise, it’s a very difficult conversation.”


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