Author: Eleanor McIlraith

World Mental Health Day 2021

This year for World Mental Health Day we are celebrating by saying #HelloYellow.

#HelloYellow is a focus on young people’s mental health set up by the charity Young Minds. On October 8th we will be raising awareness for mental health and celebrating the small things that have got us through the last year.

We began with a video made by staff and pupils which was shown at assembly. Staff and pupils have also been making yellow bunting with the little things which have helped us to get through the past year. The bunting will be used to decorate the school, along with posters and paper chains made by pupils.

We are asking everyone to wear yellow as a little thing we can do to highlight mental health issues in young people. There are loads of supports, both in school and out, and we will have a fayre in the Learning Plaza to hightlight these to the young people.

The pupil Mental Health Group have been busy baking and there will also be a photo booth so that we can also decorate our social media and paint it yellow too.


Banchory Academy ~ #HelloYello Video 2021


Banchory Academy Ask for Help form

Do you want some help?

Do you ever want to report something that is going on in school but you don’t want any one to know that you have told on them?

Do you ever have something on your mind that you would like to speak to your guidance teacher about but you are a wee bit scared to go into guidance and ask for them?

Do you ever think that school staff are really busy and you are worried about disturbing them?

Are you worried about a friend and want someone to help them?

One of the ways you can ask for help is to click this link or scan the QR Code below to visit our ‘I would like some help’ form.

It will take you to form to complete and someone will be in touch with you . The form asks you to give a bit of information about what is bothering you and you can tick a box to say what you would like to happen next.

The form can be filled in from school or from home.


Please note that this service is for Pupils only. 

If you have a general query in relations to this site then please visit our contact page.

If you are a parent looking for help, please contact the school office or your child’s guidance teacher to discuss.


How having a daily routine really helped me

This is a guest post by one of our pupils on the pros and cons of having a daily routine where they discuss the positive impact that had on them. There is some great advice here so why not read on to find out more about why having a daily routine might help you.

Ever since starting a daily routine, I feel not only more organised but happier within myself. It doesn’t have to contain a lot, even just a few simple things to do every day to keep your body and mind happy. For me it started with one simple task, every night before I go to sleep, I write in a notebook, and because I’m not arty AT ALL, I don’t do any of thoseaesthetically pleasing bullet journals that you see on Pinterest, I just write the date at the top and usually write about a page, and let your imagination take control because no one is stopping you, write whatever comes to your mind, to give you an idea I usually write about my day and my feelings, then at the end I usually countdown to something I’m looking forward too, and just not long ago I started writing quotes, songs and their lyrics that I related to that day.

Another thing I recommend is about an hour before you go to bed put your phone down (in my case I put it in a drawer) and don’t look at it till the morning, this allows you to take some time to relax before sleeping, for example read a book, watch a tv show/movie, or do an activity which you find relaxing, and one big tip here is don’t revise or study for ANYTHING before bed it will only make more stressed or worried and you will not get a good night sleep. Another thing I would recommend is try and aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day during the school week because if you do something repeatedlyit will become second nature to you, a trick I use is to set your alarm for about 10-15 minutes after you would like to wake up (I know that sounds odd, but it works!) over time you will be soused to waking up at the same time just by your alarm so if it is set later then you will tend to wake up before it goes off, starting your day in a better way

Every day if you can try and do something to make you happy or to forget about school or other issues you may have, whether you are sporty, arty, enjoy music etc, take some time to yourself to help you unwind and relax. It is not always for everyone but try some yoga and meditation or a simple workout, it has really helped me! Remember that there is more to life than school, careers and studying, everyone needs to take breaks and you will work better if you will, also always if you are struggling, work alongside other people and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice on anything – which I hate, but I am learning that it is better to be safe than sorry and that you don’t need to be alone

Now on what not to do, if you decide to have daily routine don’t be too strict with yourself if you forget something one day, don’t worry about it! Also have things that you set out to do during the week that are different to the weekend but take weekends off, have a long lie, spend time with friends and family doing things you enjoy, and as you get older being able to realise that weekends might be filled with schoolwork and a mix of a lot ofother things is the reality, something I would recommend though is to everyday come home and do something school related each day whether it is doing organising, some revision, note taking or a homework task, doing something small each day makes a big difference. Something I have realised that when I come home from school, I don’t have the right mindset to do big amounts of work but at the weekend if you get up at a time that suits you either work the morning (even in your pyjamas if you want to) and have a free afternoon and a relaxing evening or vice versa, it is a good way to get you head down and get some work done.

I could go on forever about the things that have helped me, but this would be really long, but I am happy to write about anything you would be interested in reading about so if you have any suggestions, you may get in touch with Ms Mcilraith, and she can notify me, I hoped this has been helpful and thank you for reading! 🙂

What I found out about PTSD

This is a guest post by one of our pupils. As part of the work they did in PSE, they did some research into PTSD. Often people associate PTSD as being a condition which affects those who come from a military background but actually it can result from lots of different types of trauma. Please read on to learn more.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is caused by – as its name suggests – a traumatic event that happened to an individual in their past. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder, which makes the victim feel as if the world isn’t a safe place anymore, and it’s a place where bad things can happen.  

Any situation that a person finds traumatic can cause PTSD. It can occur immediately after an event or show itself days, weeks, months, or even years afterwards. It isn’t entirely clear why this condition develops in some people while in others it doesn’t, but it’s estimated to affect one in three people who experience a traumatic event.  

People who deal with more than one traumatic event, such as severe neglect, abuse or violence, may be diagnosed with complex PTSD. Complex post-traumatic-stress-disorder can cause similar symptoms to PTSD and may not develop until several years after the event. It’s often more severe if the individual experienced the event or events earlier in life, as these events can affect a child’s development.  

Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through flashbacks and nightmares, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritation and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult. These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough for it to have a lasting, significant impact on a person’s day-to-day life. Some people with PTSD have long periods where their symptoms are less noticeable, followed by long periods when they get considerably worse. Others have constant severe symptoms. The specific symptoms of PTSD can vary widely between individuals, but most fall into the categories of re-experiencing, avoidance and emotional numbing, and hyperarousal.  


This is the most typical symptom of PTSD. Some people have constant negative thoughts about the experience, making them ask themselves questions which stop them from coming to terms with the event. An example of this is if they wonder why the event happened to them and if they could have stopped it. This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame. This category includes:

Repetitive and distressing images or sensations
Physical sensations, such as pain, feeling sick or trembling

Avoidance and emotional numbing

This is when the individual tries to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event. It is another key symptom of PTSD. This usually means avoiding people or events that remind them of their trauma, or directly avoiding mentioning it or talking about it. Many people with PTSD try to push away the memories of the event by distracting themselves with hobbies or work. Some people try to deal with their emotions by not feeling any at all. This is called emotional numbing. This could lead to the person becoming isolated or withdrawn, making them give up on activities they used to enjoy.  


This is sometimes called feeling “on edge”. Someone with PTSD may be constantly aware of threats, easily startled, very anxious and find it difficult to relax. The state of mind that people with PTSD may experience is called hyperarousal. This often leads to:

Angry outbursts
Sleeping problems (insomnia)  
Difficulty concentrating

Many people with PTSD can also experience multiple other problems, such as other mental health conditions (like depression, anxiety or phobias); self-harming or destructive behaviour (such as drug or alcohol misuse); and other physical symptoms (such as headaches, dizziness, chest pains and stomachaches).  

Children with PTSD can have symptoms like adults, such as trouble sleeping and nightmares. Other symptoms in children with PTSD include difficult behaviour, avoiding things related to the traumatic event, and re-enacting the traumatic event multiple times through play.  

The primary treatments for PTSD are psychological therapies and medication. Often, the only effective treatment of PTSD is seeking professional help and fully confronting your feelings. It can be treated effectively even if it develops years after the traumatic event that caused it. The treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and how soon they occur after the traumatic event.  

Any of the following treatments could be recommended:  

Watchful waiting – monitoring the symptoms to see whether they improve or get worse on their own, without treatment  
Antidepressants – medication such as paroxetine or mirtazapine  
Psychological therapies – such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)  

If you need support for PTSD, you have a few options. First, you can either arrange support privately, or you can request a needs assessment. The needs assessment tells you what type of care will help you and how it’ll be delivered to you. You can just get help over the telephone or get help from services who’ll provide social care and support.  

Having PTSD isn’t a choice. It isn’t someone just hanging on to things and refusing to let go. People who’ve experienced trauma could develop PTSD, and this is something that makes them feel like the world isn’t a safe place anymore. But there are ways to identify it, treat it, and support those who have it. People can combat PTSD.  

What is Peer Listening

What are Peer Listeners?

Peer Listeners are students who have volunteered to support other students by talking to them and listening to them.

Our volunteers complete a course which includes learning good listening skills and understanding when and where to find help if needed.

How can Peer Listeners help you?

Peer listeners are other students who want to help support you in the way that a friend or an older sibling might do. They are not counsellors but will spend time chatting with you about how you feel.

Peer Listeners work with school staff so can help you to share any concerns with the right person. They will not give you advice but are there to listen to you or to be a friend.

Do I have to have a problem?

Definitely NOT. Peer listening is for anyone who wants to go along  and chat with other pupils. This might be because you find yourself on your own or just because you enjoy their company.

How does Peer Listening work? 

The Peer Listeners are based in the library during lunchtime. There will usually be between two and four students and they are set up with games that you can play while they chat to you and get to know you. 

The majority of peer listeners will be in S3 and they will be part of the programme for one year. Some students may wish to continue and so they might continue beyond S3.

The students will be in the library from 1.10pm. They use the tables as the back beside the window so you will easily recognise them.

What do I do to meet with a Peer Listener?

Peer Listening is a drop in service so you just have to turn up. It is available ever lunchtime from 1.10pm but you can go at any time after that. It isn’t like a club or group so you don’t need to stay for the whole time or go every week.

The students who are there will welcome you so you don’t need to explain why you have come – just sit down and they will find a game to play or an activity for you to do.

How do I become a Peer Listener?

We train a new group of Peer Listeners each year. We ask that you make a commitment for the whole year and you can start during S3. We offer training for the new group of Peer Listeners which covers all the skills you will need.

Training takes place after the change of timetable but before the summer holidays as our new S1 pupils can find it helpful when they first start school.

If you are interested in becoming a PeerListener then please speak with your Guidance Teacher or speak with Ms McIlraith for more information.



What’s Up with Everyone? Animated Resources

So often it is difficult to find resources that are accessible and engaging for young people. If you want to try something diffferent to the usual help sheets and infographics then why not check out this new set of animations created by Aardman Animations (creators of Wallace and Gromit)?

The animations cover 6 topics: perfectionism, loneliness & isolation, independence, social media, competitiveness and seeking help. There is a webpage for each video which has further information about the topic, including suggestions for what you can do if you are experiencing similar issues.

Find the animations and website at What’s Up With Everyone? and don’t forget to come back and let us know in the comments what you thought.


Getting to Grips with Stress

April is stress awareness month. As we come back to school full time from lockdown many of us are feeling stress in different ways, whether it is to do with assessments, future plans or just adjusting and dealing with life at a different pace.

Experiencing stress at difficult times is a normal thing, but it can lead us to feeling overwhelmed  if you are finding things difficult to manage then there are some resources below which may help.

Helping Yourself

When we start to feel stressed, we can forget to do the things we enjoy and the things that make us feel better. We can become very focussed on what is wrong and feel helpless to change it. There are lots of great self help guides and supports on line but wading through them can be just another thing to do. Below are a few good ones which will hopefully take the stress out of trying to manage your stress.

This guide from The Children’s Society looks really good for tips and support. It has been developed recently so takes into account the way people are feeling post lockdown.
Young People’s Well-being Guide for Stressful Situations

If you are more visual then this video from Dr Shelia Redfern also gives some tips on how to manage stress when waiting to hear from exam results, or applications for college, university or for a job.
Advice on managing stress at important moments video

Stress about Assessments

For those of you who are about to sit assessments, it can feel particularly stressful. We are acutely aware that the impact of lockdown has meant that there is a lot of assessment are coming late in the year rather than it having been spread out. When things are uncertain and there is a lot of change it can lead to a feeling of not being in control ams this is very stressful.

This guide has been put together by Student Minds specifically to help students to keep things in perspective, get good habits ams avoid bad, get organised and get support from family and friends.  There are also lots of useful links in the guide so if you are in S4, S5 or S6 it is well worth checking out. Student Guide to Managing Exam Stress.

And Finally

if you are feeling stressed and would like to talk to someone then please see your guidance teacher to discuss the options  we realise how challenging things are and there are adults available who can help and support you to work through it. This might be in terms of pointing you towards some helpful guides and resources, as above, or arranging for you to work with someone one to one or in a small group. We are here to help so please let us know if you are finding it hard.




Welcome to our blog

We have decided to set up this blog in order to share information about health and wellbeing and we hope you find it helpful. This year has been a time of huge change and we have had to find ways to connect in a more virtual way.

Hopefully as time goes by it will prove itself a helpful source of information and support. For more information you might want to check out our pages and if you have any ideas, suggestions or feedback, please feel free to Contact Us.

At Banchory Academy we take a whole school approach to wellbeing so it is important to us to hear your voice. If you would like to share your thoughts, experience or knowledge about any area of wellbeing, then we would love to have you post on our blog.