Isn’t mental health prevention better than the cure?

There has been a lot in the media about the rising numbers of children and young people with mental health disorders, and the lack of support and funding to help. While this is obviously very worrying, and given the year-plus long waiting lists needs addressing, shouldn’t we also be focusing on prevention?

Young boy concerned about his own mental health is sat at desk looking stressed and worried about school work We know that, unfortunately, these mental health issues are likely to affect the life chances of these young people. There has been a lot of research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the negative effects on a young person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing long into the future. ACEs can also affect their ability to access learning which compounds the problem further.

Thrive® offers a practical and systematic approach to identifying and supporting children and young people who are struggling. Having an understanding of normal social and emotional needs, especially in adolescence, will enable us to address issues before they become a problem.

With Thrive® Training, key adults – such as school staff – nurture supportive and positive relationships with the children so that they are better able to cope with life’s ups and downs. A pivotal part is an online assessment tool, Thrive-Online, that helps to identify emotional and social development needs of children. Based on the identified needs, Thrive-Online proposes targeted strategies and activities that enable differentiated provision to be put in place alongside the curriculum, and progress measured over time.

Schools that have adopted the Thrive Approach® tell us that Thrive has had a positive impact on their students – helping them to become more able to participate in learning and succeed at school, at the same time as becoming more resilient and therefore far less likely to suffer from mental health disorders.

By investing in early intervention, we could help take the pressure off our struggling mental health services – and help make the funding go further!

The Thrive model of social and emotional development in relation to ACEs