No joke! Top girls’ school is running laughter lessons to help pupils combat stress and anxiety
- Brighton Girls is running laughter therapy lessons in school to help pupils
- Experts say that laughter reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Staff hope that the hour-long sessions will improve the wellbeing of students
A top girls’ school is running laughter therapy lessons to help pupils combat stress and anxiety.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists recently reported that almost 200,000 young people have been referred to mental health services in the past three months – nearly double pre-pandemic levels.
Experts say laughter reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increases endorphins which boost feelings of happiness. Studies say laughter also strengthens the immune system.
Staff at Brighton Girls – formerly Brighton and Hove High School – hope the hour-long sessions will improve wellbeing amid high levels of depression among children
Specialist laughter therapist Emma Jennings, who runs the classes at the £15,000-a-year school, said: ‘Lockdown has meant there has been so much more anxiety for children. They have been isolated and no amount of Zoom contact makes up for that.
‘These sessions are about developing the camaraderie that being together and doing something fun engenders while physically boosting their health and wellbeing.’
The classes are being taught to 11-to-12-year-old girls, but there are now plans to extend them to all school year groups, as well as teachers and parents.
Headteacher Rosie McColl said: ‘Young girls have a lot on their plates whether it’s doing their schoolwork or dealing with social media pressure. We thought it would be great to introduce a purely fun class, which they can walk away from having felt a drop in stress levels.’