With #WorldMentalHealth Day around the corner, this week we’ll be exploring mental health literacy in education. With mental health issues so prevalent in our society, integrating mental wellbeing into the curriculum is crucial.
Mental health is a critical part of students’ overall health and wellbeing and success in education. Stress of everyday life and academic pressures combined can result in exhaustion and a neglect of self-care for many students and mean that this period is a time when mental health issues can manifest.
Education from an early age can have a positive impact on eliminating stigmas and opening up the conversation around mental health. Offering a range of tools that promote wellbeing, identify warning signs, and having a supportive and open school culture are all important strategies. There is also a call for culturally competent care.
Schools and colleges already do this in a variety of ways, including*:
● Structured lessons are offered through the RSHE curriculum
● Promoting key mental health events and awareness weeks like Children's Mental Health Week (held in February every year) and World Mental Health Day (held on 10 October every year)
● Providing staff with CPD on mental health and wellbeing
● Incorporating mental health and wellbeing as a regular agenda item in all meetings of senior leaders, the board, parent/carer groups, and teachers
● Talking about mental health and wellbeing issues with students regularly through tutor time or in small groups
● Celebrating learning that goes beyond attainment on a regular basis to build confidence and a positive culture
● Ensuring pupils and staff know the ways in which they can get support if they need it
● The provision of reading materials that discuss mental health and wellbeing.
Supporting the wellbeing of those working in schools and empowering them to bring their best selves to work can have real impact on young people. We have worked with the Bupa Foundation to roll out Wellbeing for Educators – a free, practical evidence-based programme based on Bupa’s expertise, which helps teachers cope with pressures and foster an improved culture of wellbeing in schools. Despite the universal nature and the magnitude of mental health, the gap between demand for mental health services and supply remains substantial*. At Hopscotch, we look forward to continuing to prioritise health and wellbeing work with clients.
Anna Freud. National Centre for Children and Families. (n.d.). Integrate mental health and wellbeing across curriculum and culture. [online] Available at: annafreud.org/schools-and-colleges/5-steps-to-mental-health-and-wellbeing/promoting-wellbeing/integrate-mental-health-and-wellbeing-across-curriculum-and-culture/.
World Health Organisation. www.who.int. (n.d.). Key messages. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/key-messages.