We need to talk about Children’s Mental Health

Following Children’s Mental Health Week, we are reminded that mental health issues do not only effect adults. While many of us may look back at childhood as carefree, the reality is that many children are suffering from on-going problems regarding their mental wellbeing.

YoungMinds revealed that one in ten children in the UK between the ages of 5-16, have a diagnosable mental health problem. This is the equivalent to three in every classroom.

The Good Childhood report 2017 notably found that young people’s happiness is at its lowest since 2010. Also, that children in the UK were more likely than any other to say they did not like going to school, with a large number saying they were actively worried about attending school.

These are just a few of the worrying findings that drive home the extent of what an important issue mental health in children has become.

What can be done?

One of the best ways to tackle this growing epidemic is ensuring that schools are properly trained on how to identify and support children who are at risk or who are currently suffering.

It is estimated that over the course of their education children spend over 7,800 hours at school. With so much time spent in the classroom, schools provide the perfect environment for promoting good emotional wellbeing and is arguably the best place to identify early behaviour changes and signs of distress. The skills and knowledge that young people learn at schools often help them to develop resilience and prepare them for how they will manage their mental health throughout their lives.

Emotional satisfaction in school also has a direct correlation with academic achievement and success with over half of all lifetime cases of mental health issues beginning before the age of 14. Despite all the current evidence, at present the current education system does not provide anywhere near the level of mental health support that is truly needed, with the focus still firmly fixed on academic achievement and not the overall positive development of children.

What next?

The Children’s Society and the BACP advise school based counselling can lead to significant improvements in children’s mental health, social development and emotional skills as well as provide reductions in misbehaviour, anxiety, depression and bullying.

These services have already been established in Wales and Northern Ireland and have seen positive results in reducing bullying and misbehaviour as well as improving attendance.

If a counsellor was placed into every UK school the overall cost is estimated to be around £90m a year, this translates to roughly £40 per counselling session. Although this may seem high, if a child is referred to a counsellor through their local Child and Adolescent Mental Health System (CAMHS) the estimated cost of a single counselling sessions is £240.

How can we help?

Join mental health expert Ian Macdonald and a range of other expert speakers on Wednesday 18th April 2018 in central London for our CPD Certified training course ‘’Supporting Pupils Mental Wellbeing’’.

Hear from best practice case studies that highlight how your school can overcome the challenges surrounding mental health and promote a positive educational experience. Through interactive sessions and practical workshops, ensure that you comply with the legal duty of care and learn how you can create a mentally healthy school for pupils, parents and staff.

Now over to you…

What is your experience on Mental Health with young people? Do you have any tips or lessons of experience? Are there any other crucial aspects that you would like to share? Tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov, we always love to hear from you.

Do you have a team of staff at your organisation who would benefit from Supporting Pupils Mental Wellbeing? 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.