Wellbeing and Mental Health

St James’ CofE Primary School is very fortunate to have our own on site School Counsellor!

Hello my name is Catherine Kiff.

I am the school counsellor for St James’.  As the school counsellor I offer a safe and confidential space where I will listen, non-judgmentally, and help children to begin to understand their feelings and thoughts.

As an integrative arts psychotherapist and counsellor I work through the use of the arts and play. Through this way of working it helps provide emotional support when children, young people and adults are faced with experiences in life that they are finding difficult to cope with. Using the arts such as painting, clay, puppets sand tray, music and drama can help people to communicate their feelings and express their thoughts which they find difficult to talk about.

Expression through use of the arts provides an alternative but important opportunity to understand a person’s emotional life and their ways of relating to other people. Unlike art activities art work produced in therapy is not intended as an end product and it does not have to be aesthetically pleasing. Using the arts in a therapeutic contest is a means to self-discovery by being curious about what is created. The arts act a vehicle for understanding growth and facilitating change. There is not expectation to be good at art or have any previous experience of working in this way.

In addition to my work at St James’, I have a private practice an d work across the public, private and voluntary sectors and in research, within the field of mental health.

Qualifications and Registrations:

I am qualified to Masters Level with specialist qualifications in adults, adolescents and children. I also have additional training in bereavement, loss, trauma, PTSD, art therapy and creative play therapy.

As a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist I am a registered member of the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), the UK Council for psychotherapists (UKCP). The British Association for Counselling and psychotherapy (BACP) and the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT).

I have an enhanced DBS check and level 3 safeguarding.

How to maintain good mental well-being during isolation

Mind Parent 2 Parent Service

Essex Family Support Service

Children & Adult Mental Health Services Resources

Dental Health Advice

Early Dental Health is really important for young children.

Please find below advice on keeping your children’s teeth healthy!

12 Top Tips for Healthy Teeth

Easy Oral Health Guide

Useful Links for families

Rainbow Services:

This Community Hub can offer support with Foodbank vouchers, referrals to the Bounty Club, Bump to 5 and various other local organisations. They also have a designated member of staff from Mind in West Essex and Citizens Advice Harlow on the team who can connect people with for practical advice.

The Hub telephone line is open Monday – Friday 10am – 2pm on 01279 927005,

via email: harlowcommunityhub@rainbowservices.org.uk

or face to face at Harlow Foodbank, St Paul’s Church on a Tuesday and Friday or

Harlow Library on a Thursday 11-1 (the library starts on the 11th August).

Essex Child and Family Well-being Service Bulletins

About Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS)

ECFWS is delivered by Virgin Care Limited in partnership with Barnardo’s, to deliver children and family services across Essex, including local children’s community health provision. Services are commissioned by Essex County Council and West Essex CCG, and work closely with partners within education to change outcomes for children and young people.

We are pleased to share with you their Weekly Bulletins, an interactive resource aimed to support schools and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Each bulletin contains activities to support the wellbeing of our school community in line with our PSHE programme, resources for your information, relevant service updates and up to date contact information.

Online and Telephone Support:

NHS 111 Mental Health Crisis Phone Line

  • A new crisis mental health phone line has launched across Essex. The 24-hr service launched by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) offers immediate and specialist support to adults experiencing mental health crisis.
  • Anyone in need can dial 111 at any time and select the option for mental health crisis (option 2)

Young Minds

  • Text Crisis Messenger 24/7: text YM to 85258 (free from most mobile networks)
  • Parents Helpline Mon-Fri 9.30am – 4pm 0808 802 5544 (free of charge)


The Mix


  • Telephone support 24/7 on 116 123
  • Email support jo@samaritans.org (24 hour response time)


  • Free counselling service for ages 5 – 25 years currently offering telephone counselling and still taking referrals
  • Enquiries can be made by professionals, young people or their parents by speaking to a member of the Clinical Team on 01279 414 090 and choosing option 1

MHST Newsletter Christmas edition