10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. Yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. (Mental Health Foundation)
This needs to change now! From the personal view of a child who has experienced the lack of support in schools, I feel that not providing the right provisions to our young people of today will massively impact their future well-being and academic achievements.
Years of a young person’s life are already hard enough, with physical changes and ever increasing responsibilities. To then add a mental health condition into the mix, creates a very complicated life for a young person.
In my younger years, I was a very sensitive child. I had a lot of worries during the day and had trouble sleeping at night. School was a battle for me. Along with some learning difficulties, I was also a very shy and anxious young girl. I struggled to express myself and ask for help when I needed it. Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of good times too. But these issues did affect me and I feel they have impacted my future. I felt as though I was just labelled as “shy” or “quiet”. I think this caused me to sink deep through the net which meant that teachers were unable to notice that I wasn’t coping. I’ve been moved around various schools and have also been home educated. The pastoral care in schools needs to be priority, as from someone who has experienced first-hand the struggle, I feel more care and support is needed.
I feel schools need to educate young people on the importance of mental health and that it’s okay to not be okay. Education needs to include information on the symptoms of mental ill-health and coping mechanisms to help them carry on with a more effective mind-set. I feel that grades should not be the flashing lights to warn a teacher that a student isn’t coping. I feel that a support system or session should be put on in classes for students to be able to explain anything that is concerning them.
More should be done to link personal needs to education. Everybody’s wellbeing should be taken into consideration. Before you can see academic results in an individual, you must first check what’s going on inside. A positive mind-set is the foundation to building a student’s education.
Let’s Talk about Mental Health In schools.
Altruist Enterprises provide 1-hour interactive mental health awareness workshops for young people aged 9 – 19 years in schools and colleges. To find out more, please click here.