As the popularity of social media continues to grow, students are left inundated with digital notifications but lacking in professional guidance on how to deal with the pressure of knowing that anything they may say or do could appear in videos on the likes of snapchat within seconds.
Additionally, LGBTQ+ issues, family problems, exam stress and a myriad of other concerns combine to place students’ emotional well-being at risk and make mental health education in schools more important than ever before.
Fortunately, the Government has announced that as of Autumn 2020, mental health education will be compulsory in all schools across England. The new lessons will begin in Primary School and will teach students how to make positive friendships and remove negativity from family relationships. When students reach secondary school, the subject matter of these lessons will develop in detail as their lives progress.
The aim of the new lessons will be to give children the tools they need to build healthy relationships throughout their lives, while not being afraid to seek support whenever they need it. It is also hoped that children will be able to identify when their friends are struggling emotionally and offer them support. Speaking about the new legislation in the Evening Standard, Education Secretary Damian Hinds commented:
“ I want to make sure that our children are able to grow-up to become happy and well-rounded individuals who know how to deal with the challenges of the modern world.”
His remarks sum up the intent of this new legislation perfectly.
Everyone at Altruist Enterprises is delighted by this legislative development, as we have been both championing and delivering mental health education in schools for the past 5 years.
Between January and February alone, our Mental Health in Schools project made 1200 pupils throughout Birmingham aware not only of their own mental health and how to cope through difficult times, but also how to support their friends. Organisations such as West Midlands Combined Authority and Santander sponsored the programme, as they saw the immense value of providing these young people with guidance on how to live happier, healthier lives.
As a result of the overwhelming response to the campaign, we are working with the University of Birmingham to evaluate the effectiveness of our school-based mental health interventions with the final paper due for release in September 2018.
We also hope that over time, this welcome addition to pupils’ school timetables will benefit businesses large and small. If students can transition from the world of education to the world of work with a strong understanding of relationship building and an ability to solve problems they are experiencing through discussion, this will only make the environments in which they work happier and ultimately, more productive places.
Find out more about our interactive Mental Health Awareness for Young People workshops here.