To nurture the skills of resilience is key to providing young people with the ability to cope with stress, adversity, failure and challenges. Resilience is evident when young people have a greater ability to “bounce back” when faced with difficulties and achieve positive outcomes.
Resilience supports the individual to critically evaluate the positive/negative effect that certain behaviour may have and helps provide the confidence to speak out about it or seek support.
It is well known that physical health and mental health are interlinked, that good physical health contributes to good mental health, and vice versa. Teaching about mental health and emotional wellbeing as part of a comprehensive PSHE education curriculum is key to improving health, wellbeing and developing resilience. This can promote pupils’ wellbeing through an understanding of their own and others’ emotions and the development of healthy coping strategies. It also contributes to safeguarding, providing pupils with knowledge, understanding and strategies to keep themselves healthy and safe, as well as equipping them to support others who are facing challenges. In addition communicating openly about mental health and emotional wellbeing issues are an effective means of breaking down any associated stigma for individuals and the wider community. There are a number of risk factors that increase the vulnerability of children and adolescents to mental health problems, these include:
- Low-income household/parents who are unemployed
- Looked-after children
- Black and other ethnic minority groups
- Lesbian/gay/bisexual or transgender
- Those in the criminal justice system
- Those who have a parent with mental health problems
- Those who experience negative parenting
- Refugees, asylum seekers and young homeless
- Gypsy and other traveller communities
- Substance misuse
By the end of primary school pupils should know:
- That mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health.
- That there is a normal range of emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, nervousness) and scale of emotions that all humans experience in relation to different experiences and situations.
- How to recognise and talk about their emotions, including having a varied vocabulary of words to use when talking about their own and others’ feelings.
- How to judge whether what they are feeling and how they are behaving is appropriate and proportionate.
- The benefits of physical exercise, time outdoors, community participation, voluntary and service-based activity on mental wellbeing and happiness.
- Simple self-care techniques, including the impact of relaxation, time spent with friends and family and the benefits of hobbies and interests.
- Isolation and loneliness can affect children and that it is very important for children to discuss their feelings with an adult and seek support.
- That bullying (including cyberbullying) has a negative and often lasting impact on mental wellbeing.
- Where and how to seek support (including recognising the triggers for seeking support), including whom in school they should speak to if they are worried about their own or someone else’s mental wellbeing or ability to control their emotions (including issues arising online).
- it is common for people to experience mental ill health. For many people who do, the problems can resolve if the right support is made available and accessed, especially if they access support as early as possible.
By the end of secondary school pupils should know:
- How to talk about their emotions accurately and sensitively, using appropriate vocabulary.
- That happiness is linked to being connected to others.
- How to recognise the early signs of mental wellbeing issues.
- Common types of mental ill health (e.g. anxiety and depression).
- How to critically evaluate when something they do or are involved in has a positive or negative effect on their own or others’ mental health.
- The benefits of physical exercise, time outdoors, community participation and voluntary and service-based activities on mental wellbeing and happiness.