Aliceson O’Beirne is the Director of Physical and Mental Health at The Stephen Longfellow Academy. She has over 20 years of experience working in the NHS as a Registered Nurse and Health Visitor.
Aliceson gives guidance within school on the physical, emotional and mental health of students in both our primary and secondary provisions. As required, she will work with external professionals and health related agencies to fully support our students.
Aliceson is responsible for creating individual healthcare plans for all students with medical conditions. She is also responsible for organising health related sessions in school such as immunisations and referrals to other health professionals when required.
Aliceson provides support on a range of issues to our students:
- Emotional health
- Mental health issues
- Sexual health
- Substance misuse
If you have any concerns about your child’s health in school, please contact Aliceson on 0113 368 5999.
Counselling & Psychotherapy
Counselling gives people a safe space to talk so they can express themselves freely and feel understood. The therapist will listen, encourage and empathise, but will also help the students to see their issues more clearly or from a different perspective. Therapy will involve talking about life events, feelings, emotions, relationships, ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour. By talking about these things the counsellor helps a person to understand themselves better by learning about why they behave in certain ways and why events trigger certain feelings. Becoming more aware of the difficulties you are having allows you to feel more in control of finding ways forward and create positive changes you want to happen in your life.
Having sessions with a counsellor will give you the opportunity to help identify goals and potential solutions to your problems, aiming to look at improving communication, social and coping skills, self-esteem, self-care and promote positive behavioural change. During negative experiences counselling can help young people to build resilience so they can learn to cope and identify when something is wrong.
Maintaining a good mental wellbeing is a key priority at The Stephen Longfellow Academy. Emotional mental health refers to how we think, how we feel, how we behave, how life affects us, how we cope with it, how we engage with others and the choices that we make. Counselling or wellbeing support can help us cope with what life sometimes throws our way. Good mental health refers to how one can bounce back and thrive despite set backs and problems.
Are you feeling down and cannot put your finger on the reason?
Are you not sure on what to do next or where to go to?
Are you overwhelmed but don’t want to burden your friends and family?
Do you want to give yourself some tools to be able to carry on?
Some of our students may face difficult events in their lives such as bereavement, bullying, physical illness, difficult relationships and trauma. We may experience anxiety, depression, panic attacks or changes in our behaviour or mood as a result of these events. These might be indicators to show that we are not coping very well.
Receiving support might help in gaining back abilities within you that give you the strength to overcome life’s lows and struggles. Counselling and wellbeing support can help us to offload by getting things off our chest. It’s important to remember there is nothing wrong with asking for help, as we shouldn’t have to deal with things on our own.
Even people with supportive family and friends may find it difficult to talk about how they really feel. Speaking with a professional, away from your close support network enables you to put yourself first by focusing on your own wellbeing, because YOU matter too. There are times where we need support from an unbiased perspective to help us get through a hard time.
If you feel like you are having difficulty coping (for a variety of reasons), pastoral staff are available for you discuss the issue you may be having. The pastoral team then work with the pupil and parents to organise a referral to therapeutic services.
Therapeutic services complete an assessment, which is an introductory session taking into account all your needs and finding out what you feel you would like out of getting additional support.
You will then decide with the counsellor a regular, weekly bespoke session. It is simply an opportunity to talk things through in confidence within a safe space. The amount of sessions will vary based on the needs of the young person. Typically, counselling will last between 6 – 12 sessions however it is always tailored to the young person’s needs.
Keeping young people safe is a priority in counselling work. The counsellor will explain that all of the things the young person talks about in the sessions will stay between them and will not be passed on to anyone else. However, the only exception to this is that the counsellor might have to pass information if the young person told them about something that put them or someone else at risk of harm. If we have to do this, we would always tell you – we would tell you why and who we would have to speak to about it and explain the process that follows from this.