How Can Schools Support Pupils’ Mental Wellbeing?

Childhood, the days where we didn’t have to worry about rent, when the next pay check is coming in or whether those targets at work are being met. But, do children today really have it easy?

Well, being young in today’s society is a lot more challenging than we think. The pressure of exams, being academically astute, relationship troubles and bullying are just a handful of problems kids face. It’s no wonder why many have their low moments, but it seems that there is more to it than just feeling a bit stressed or down.

According to a report by the Children’s Commissioner:

“800,000 children aged 5 to 17 suffer mental health disorders.”

It’s an alarming figure, one which truly represents how widespread the issue is. Schools around the country are now having to face the task of identifying and confronting ill mental health for two reasons:

  1. The impact it has on academic performance.
  2. The legal obligations of schools surrounding pupils’ mental wellbeing

With the complexity and sensitivity surrounding mental health, schools are finding themselves in a difficult spot. But, it’s important to first understand the correlation of today’s youth and our ever changing society.

So, why is there such a spike in children’s mental health issues?

Well, problems previously stated such as exam pressure and bullying are things we normally associate with causing ill mental health. However, in this digital age social media has a big part to play. The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) went out to say that “social media may be fuelling a mental health crisis”. Although they allow individuals to express themselves and form a self-identity, these platforms have a major effect on anxiety levels.

A survey by the National Citizen Service recently found that:

“40% of teenagers said their appearance was influenced by what they see on social media whilst 24% saying they felt negative about themselves because they did not look like their friends.”

Many teenagers compare themselves to celebrities or so called fitness inspirations, reality becomes misleading as they only see the heavily filtered, curated and unrealistic version of society. Distorted thoughts on body image has a harmful effect on self-esteem which as a result leads to depression.

The enormity of the internet has also provided the platform for bullies to flourish. Often referred to as “Cyber Bullying” this is seen to be more harmful than traditional bullying. This is primarily down to anonymity as the culprits are hidden behind a screen and keyboard which means the fear of being caught diminishes. Sending harassing messages, impersonating and posting embarrassing images are just some examples of Cyber Bullying. This can completely destroy the self-identity of someone leading to feelings of hopelessness, depression and anxiety.

What can your school do to support pupils’ mental wellbeing?

Implementing mental health strategies is a difficult task, but it is one which must be done. Without help and guidance young people run a risk of carrying ill mental health through to adult life.

Some of the suggested approaches to tackling this issue include:

  • Establishing a positive environment which promotes children’s wellbeing
  • Teaching children of all ages about mental health and wellbeing
  • Having a lead professional and a clear mental health policy

At our training day, delegates will gain an understanding on how to effectively support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing in schools. This interactive course will provide practical approaches to promote positive mental health in pupils’.

Over to you:

If you’re thinking that this sounds beneficial either for yourself or for a colleague, get in touch to have a chat or make a booking. We would love to hear from you.

Interested in attending our Supporting Pupils’ Mental Wellbeing course?  If you would like to learn more about this training day or would like to book your place, please call 0800 542 9440 or email [email protected].

What strategy does your school have in place to support pupils wellbeing? Have you come across pupils’ who you believe are suffering from some kind of mental health disorder? Do you have any advice for schools? Tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov

Do you have a team of staff at your organisation who would benefit from Supporting Pupils’ Mental Wellbeing training? We also offer this course as a highly flexible In-House training session, delivered direct to your organisation on a date to suit you. Contact our In-House Training team on [email protected] to find out more.