5 Signs that Mental Health Problems are an Issue within your School

A report by the Children’s Commissioner for England has recently unveiled the shocking reality of over 800,000 children who are suffering from mental health problems in England alone.

Furthermore, teachers report the highest level of occupational stress in Australia, the UK and America than any other profession. In a recent poll on teacher wellbeing in the UK, of 778 responses some 45% reported that their mental health was ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ and 15% reported taking medication because of the stress of their work. Both this research into mental health in students and teachers reveal the incidence of mental health issues within their sample to be much higher than expected. The presence of mental health issues within your school, at this moment, is probably being underestimated. In order to effectively deal with and cater to the demands that mental health issues can present, it is important to be able to detect them within your school.

Below are listed 5 signs that mental health problems are an issue within your school.

1. Absence of pupils and staff

An outcome of mental health issues in students was reported by the Children’s Commissioner for England to be higher levels of absence throughout the school year. Furthermore it has been found that a personal consequence of teacher stress can include absence.

2. Teachers leaving

It has been found that almost 66% of teachers have considered leaving the profession due to stress. This can lead to a significant loss of skilled and experienced teachers through those choosing to leave the profession. The lack of stability to the students’ education that this causes could also negatively affect the pupils of those teachers.

3. A decrease in attainment

Another outcome of mental health issues in students was reported to be lower levels of educational attainment and progression. Poor mental wellbeing in teachers also affects the quality of their teaching. It has been reported that almost 70% of teachers do not feel engaged in their work which affects the quality of their teaching, their ability to be responsive to students, and their overall ability to form good teacher-student relationships with their pupils. This in turn affects the students’ chances of succeeding in their education.

4. Bullying

More students with mental health disorders in the UK are bullied than children without disabilities. In one study, 60% of students with mental health disorders report being bullied compared to 25% of students in general. Bullying can also affect students’ mental health and wellbeing; it has been associated with low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Students are not the only individuals in school to have problems with bullying. In a survey of over 800 teachers an unbelievable 99.6% of teachers reported that they had been bullied at school by fellow teachers, principals or parents. This, again, both affects teachers’ job performance and mental wellbeing.

5. Expulsion

It has been found that children with mental health issues have a much higher risk of expulsion due to behavioural problems. Higher levels of expulsion within your school could be indicative of mental health problems within your students. It is important to bear in mind that it is not only the victims of bullies that could be suffering from mental health problems, as those who appear to behave antisocially and have behavioural problems in school are also more likely to also be suffering from mental health disorders.


Altruist Enterprises are passionate about helping schools in reducing the incidence of these 5 phenomena through improving and ensuring the mental wellbeing of both students and staff. To find out more about Altruist Enterprises’ mental health awareness training, click here

Lara is a student intern at Altruist Enterprises and is currently studying Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She is exploring aspects of educational psychology and psychology in the workplace with particular interest in how mental wellbeing can enhance job performance and work ethic.

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