Mental Wellbeing

 

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:

  1. Low-income household/parents who are unemployed
  2. Looked-after children
  3. Disabilities
  4. Black and other ethnic minority groups
  5. Lesbian/gay/bisexual or transgender
  6. Those in the criminal justice system
  7. Those who have a parent with mental health problems
  8. Those who experience negative parenting
  9. Refugees, asylum seekers and young homeless
  10. Gypsy and other traveller communities
  11. Abuse
  12. 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.

The percentage of primary school pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs is broadly similar across Cambridgeshire to the rest of England, although the rate is lower in Peterborough. At secondary level the percentage in both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is lower.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are areas of considerable growth, based on national estimates it is thought that the number of young people aged 5-17 years with a diagnosable mental health problem will increase by approximately 1,062 before  2021. Increases are expected to be highest in Peterborough and Cambridge City, with 12% and 11% increases respectively by 2021. Peterborough is forecast to see the greatest rise in 5-10 year olds compared to 2016, with an increase of 10% by 2021. The biggest growth in 11-17 year olds is likely to be in Cambridge City (21% compared to 2016) whereas the number of 18-25 year olds is predicted to fall by 5% across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

It is predicted to rise over the next few years:

Providing a comprehensive programme to help develop children’s social and emotional skills and wellbeing, taking a whole school approach and supporting 5 mental health awareness and mindfulness have all been shown to be effective at school and community level.

In Primary Schools this means:

  • A curriculum that integrates the development of social and emotional skills within all subject areas
  • Training and development to ensure teachers and practitioners have the knowledge, understanding and skills to deliver this curriculum effectively.
  • Support to help parents or carers develop their parenting skills.
  • Integrated activities to support the development of social and emotional skills and wellbeing and to prevent bullying and violence in all areas of school life.
  • Ensure teachers and practitioners are trained to identify and assess the early signs of anxiety, emotional distress and behavioural problems among primary school children.

In Secondary Schools this means:

  • Head teachers, governors and teachers should demonstrate a commitment to the social and emotional wellbeing of young people.
  • Foster an ethos that promotes mutual respect, learning and successful relationships among young people and staff.
  • Provide a safe environment which nurtures and encourages young people’s sense of self-worth and self-efficacy, reduces the threat of bullying and violence and promotes positive behaviours.
  • Systematically measure and assess young people’s social and emotional wellbeing.
  • Ensure young people have access to pastoral care and support, as well as specialist services, so that emotional, social and behavioural problems can be dealt with as soon as they occur.
  • Provide a curriculum that promotes positive behaviours and successful relationships and helps reduce disruptive behaviour and bullying.
  • Tailor social and emotional skills education to the developmental needs of young people.
  • Reinforce curriculum learning on social and emotional skills and wellbeing by integrating relevant activities into all aspects of secondary education.

For a guided assessment in this area or for tailored support for your school, contact us.