It is time to talk day this Thursday the 4 February 2016.I am opening up the food rooms at school to offer a hot drink to the pupils and a place to come in and chat and to create awareness around mental health. Other staff such as the Head of Pastrol Care, Head of PSHE and our school nurse are joining me. We have received a resource pack from the time to change website which includes lots of tea bags and coasters promoting talking as an important part of emotional well being.
I have also written this assembly for a whole school assembly at a girls school for the upcoming time to talk day.
If you like it feel free to adapt it for use in your school or find lots of other resources at
These arrived by post today.
Entrance Music and Clips
The following clips will be played as pupils enter the assembly hall
Moon River by the honey bees is played in the background.
The music you heard on the way in to assembly was “Moon River” covered by the Honey Bees and the music you will hear on the way out will be “Wouldn’t it be lovely” by Audrey Hepburn from the movie My Fair Lady.
You probably think that this is an assembly about Audrey Hepburn. It is in a way but it predominately an assembly about Mental Health and the importance of emotional intelligence.
In 1990, Yale psychologists John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey originally coined the term emotional intelligence.
According to Psychology today
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include 3 skills:
- Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;
- The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;
- The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.
I have decided to use Audrey Hepburn as example of a lady who could display her emotional intelligence in the way in which she spoke so eloquently about her feelings around her humanitarian work. She also displayed her emotion through her body language. A smile, a touch, a nod of the head, a wink often displayed how kind and caring she was.
In 1988, Audrey Hepburn began her work as an international Ambassador for UNICEF. Over the next five years she travelled, witnessed and reported on the hardships and dire conditions under which hundreds of thousands of children were struggling to survive in Ethiopia and Sudan.
She often spoke of how this work made her feel
“I have a broken heart. I feel desperate. I can’t stand the idea that two million people are in imminent danger of starving to death, many of them children”.
Sometimes when confronted by cynism, she would respond in a no nonsense way.
After visiting Ethopia in 1998 she said to a reporter
“Somebody said to me the other day, ‘You know, it’s really senseless, what you’re doing. There’s always been suffering, there will always be suffering, and you’re just prolonging the suffering of these children [by rescuing them].’ My answer is, ‘Okay, then, let’s start with your grandchild. Don’t buy antibiotics if it gets pneumonia. Don’t take it to the hospital if it has an accident.’ It’s against life-against humanity-to think that way”
I grew up in the 1980’s and I was a massive Audrey Hepburn fan. I laughed at her performances in My Fair Lady and Sabrina and cried when she left her cat out in the rain in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; but for me I remember her mostly for the legacy of caring she engrained in my mind in those final five years of her life.
Here is a clip of reflective thoughts by Audrey and about Audrey
In 1993, she died. I cried a lot, like many others around the world.”Audrey was an inspiration,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, “she
brought enormous world attention to children. She raised the profile of the challenges they face.”
Fast forward 23 years later and I went to see the Pixar movie, Inside Out with my husband. It is fair to say that while we both enjoyed the movie; it left a greater impression on me as a teacher. I found myself recommending it to other teachers in schools and on social media as it characterises and depicts our emotional life in a more engaging manner than any book or article. I even suggested that it becomes compulsory viewing in primary schools for all children as it is a beautiful lesson on emotional intelligence.
The movie goes into the mind of an 11-year-old girl, Riley, from Minnesota, who moves to San Francisco with her parents. The leading characters of the movie however are Riley’s primary emotions. Cleverly characterised in the movie, they are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, five of the universal emotions as identified by Paul Eckman. Moving towns is difficult for Riley and the movie captures how her emotions interact, and how overcoming difficult transitions can develop Emotional Intelligence. The writers worked with psychologists with the result that the film is very accurate in terms of developmental and clinical psychology. (This summary of the movie is taken from http://www.omtglobal.com/5-lessons-emotional-intelligence-pixars-inside/)
Here is one of my favourite clips from the movie
Emotional intelligence is important in maintaining good positive mental health. Mental health is every day and ordinary and we can talk about it just as we might talk about our physical health. Our physical and our mental health will vary.1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem before the age of 16 such as depression, anxiety, an eating disorder or psychosis. 1 in 4 adults will also experience a mental health problem. Mental health problems can affect anyone and they are more common than you might think. There are lots of possible factors which might contribute to the development of a mental health problem, including a traumatic event, brain chemistry, bullying and deprivation. Everyone’s experience is different and anyone can develop a mental health problem, regardless of age, race, religion or gender (http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday)
February 4th as many of you will know is “time to talk day”. Time to talk is a national campaign to encourage people to be open about their feelings and their mental health in the hope that it will reduce the stigma associated with the term “mental health”. Talking about how you feel is an important part of developing emotional intelligence. It’s good to talk.
I would like to finish today’s assembly with a reflection.
“It is ok to feel. Feelings make you real.
Joy helps you hop, skip, giggle, hug, and smile
Anger helps you release built up tension
Fear keeps you safe
Disgust reminds you not to eat broccoli
And sadness helps you appreciate the bad experiences and process them so that you can eventually move forward
Above all remember to love life and wake up every morning and go absolutely ape because you are alive and today is a new day.”
The assembly finishes with the following song;
Wouldn’t it be lovely by Audrey Hepburn