Mental Health Awareness in schools
World Mental Health Day takes place on 10th October, this year on the topic of suicide prevention. If you'd like to get involved, The Mental Health Foundation provide support, information and ideas.
Mental Health is hitting the headlines a lot at the moment and the figures are scary. In order to give you a picture of where we are nationally, here is some of the data taken from the NHS’ Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 publication. We also show these figures in relation to the children in your primary school class.
Data on mental health was collected by the NHS in 1999, 2004 and 2017. It is not surprising to see that the number of children with mental health disorders has risen again.
In England there are roughly 1 in 9 children aged between 5 and 15 with at least one diagnosable mental health disorder. This equates to just over 3 children in a class of 30.
This information can be broken down further to see how many children in an average primary school classroom have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder.
So, in a typical primary school classroom, 6.6% of girls and 12.2% of boys will have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder. In a class of 30 primary school children, this is 9.5% of children or just under 3 children.
Numbers of children suffering with their mental health varies depending on their location and their family's income.
Children from low income families are more likely to experience poor mental health than children from high income families. Children living in the East of England or the South West of England are 6% more likely to have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder than children in London.
We can expect that a group of 30 children in London has just under 3 children that are struggling with their mental health. However, in the same size class of children in the East of England, there will be close to 5 children struggling with their mental health.
The NHS found that high self-esteem was five times more common in young people without a disorder than in those with a disorder. Self-esteem is closely linked to anxiety and poor body image.
Perhaps most worryingly, 20.7% of children who needed help with their mental health had to wait more than 6 months to see a mental health specialist. So what can you do to raise mental health awareness in your school, and help the children struggling in your class?
In its January 2019 report, the government identified the role educators have to play in promoting mental wellbeing:
To help teachers and school leaders, we have come up with 10 ways to create mentally healthy schools. This blog post contains simple, easy to digest ways to improve mental health in your classroom. If you’re thinking bigger than just your classroom, you can view and share our free Mental health staff CPD presentation in a staff meeting.