On this page you can find information about:
- increasing the profile of mental health and wellbeing within your setting
According to the most recent figures (NHS Digital, 2020), one in six 5 to 19-year-olds have a probable mental disorder. This means that in a class of 30, five pupils could be experiencing poor mental health. Ensuring mental health and wellbeing is openly discussed encourages pupils and staff to seek help when they need it.
The coronavirus pandemic caused considerable mental health challenges for children and young people. Data shows an increase in low mood, worry, and stress, as well as symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
However, some groups of children and young people have been more impacted than others. For example, girls, LGBTQ+ young people, those from minoritised ethnic groups, those with pre-existing physical or mental health needs, and those with experience of poverty, homelessness, or social care, were more likely to have mental health difficulties during the pandemic.
It is therefore very important to understand the needs of the children and young people within your school or college, and to identify who may be at higher risk of experiencing mental health difficulties.
Communicating a school vision is a key part of a whole-school or college approach to mental health. Ensuring that pupils, parents and carers, and staff have the opportunity to discuss or share any concerns they have helps to reduce stigma and normalise mental health.
By taking simple steps, you can make sure that mental health and wellbeing has a strong visible presence in your setting, and is underpinned by rigorous policy, planning and supportive action.
Children and young people, and their parents and carers can be involved in this by co-producing posters and other materials.
Raising the profile of mental health and wellbeing?
A survey conducted by the Anna Freud Centre in 2020 found that schools and colleges used a range of creative activities to promote mental health and wellbeing throughout their setting, including:
- posters and displays
- assemblies and events
- peer support initiatives
- group and individual support for parents and carers of children experiencing mental health problems.
You may want to consider the following questions:
- What activities do you have in your school or college to raise the profile of mental health?
- How do you evaluate how effective they are?
- How could you improve the visibility of mental health in your setting?
- How do you communicate your mental health policies and practice to the wider school community?
Signposting information and further support
School and college staff are not expected to be mental health specialists, but they play a key role in signposting pupils and families to further support when they need it.
It is important to understand what different types of specialist help are available locally and nationally, and to publicise these throughout your education setting. This could be done via your website and newsletters, as well as other dissemination routes where appropriate, and should be included in your mental health and wellbeing policy.
There is a need to provide more information about what is available locally and what teachers and educators should do when they are concerned about a child or young person.
Recent data shows that educators are less aware and less knowledgeable about legislation and processes relating to supporting pupils’ mental health than they are about risk factors, signs and symptoms, and types of mental health issues.
By making this information visible through clear signposting, you can ensure that pupils, staff, and parents and carers know how to access services and get the best support.
Template pupil signposting poster
There is a space for you to fill in any key individuals or services available to pupils in your education setting. You could print these out and display in communal areas such as classrooms or pupil notice boards.
Template staff signposting poster
There is a space for you to fill in any key individuals or services available for staff in your education setting. You could print these out and display in communal areas such as a staff room or reception area.
Find mental health services for children and young people in your local area using this directory.
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