Mental Health Week: Trials Launched in UK Schools
Mental health issues are not just reserved for older generations. Many mental health problems can strike at a young age, affecting a young persons school and college work, social life and much more.
Often, Mental health issues in children can be hard to detect by peers, parents and even themselves, this is why education on the matter is vital. Finally, the UK government seem to be taking the first steps towards recognising that.
Children and young people will now learn how to use a range of innovative techniques to promote good mental health through one of the biggest studies across the globe.
This week is recognised as Children’s Mental Health Week, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced that up to 370 schools in England will take part in a number of tests which will look into the different approaches to supporting young people’s mental health in one of the first major steps towards educating youngsters on their own mental health.
Mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises are just some of the things which will help them regulate their mental health and emotions. According to a Gov.uk announcement, the study is going to be running until 2021 and will aim to give schools new and better evidence about what works best for their students’ mental health and wellbeing.
In addition, Hinds also confirmed the different areas across the country that will be trialling the new high-quality mental health assessments for young people that are entering care by helping them get the support they need to meet their individual needs at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.
Speaking on the matter, Hinds said:
“As a society, we are much more open about our mental health than ever before, but the modern world has brought new pressures for children, while potentially making others worse. Schools and teachers don’t have all the answers, nor could they, but we know they can play a special role which is why we have launched one of the biggest mental health trials in schools. These trials are key to improving our understanding of how practical, simple advice can help young people cope with the pressures they face.”
“To support this, we’re introducing compulsory health education in all schools, within which children will start to be introduced gradually to issues around mental health, wellbeing and happiness right from the start of primary school. We are rolling out significant additional resources to schools to improve mental health provision at an earlier stage through the Government’s Green Paper proposals, including awareness of ‘mental health first aid’ techniques and teams of trained mental health staff to work with and in schools.”
Anna Freud at the National Centre for Children and Families in partnership with University College London is leading the school study which is now in the second wave and recruiting more primary and secondary schools to join.
Designed to explore the impact of different approaches at schools, the trials will recognise the significant time children spend at school and the important role teachers that teachers have in seeing the changes in pupils behaviour and mood. The current Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said:
“I want to see all children and young people have the opportunity to flourish – and protecting their mental health is vital to this. I’m incredibly excited by this initiative, which will help young people better understand their mental health and identify when they need to ask for help sooner.”
This is a huge step within the UK education sector and could hopefully prove to be vital for the development of young people, in understanding how to care for themselves and their peers in a more effective way.