With almost 400,000 children and young people a year in England being treated for mental health problems, it is vital to consider the role that schools and other settings can play.
It is no secret that diagnosed mental health issues among children and young people are rising sharply. There were a total of 389,727 “active referrals” for people aged 18 or younger in April alone. It is also true that half of lifelong mental illnesses start before the age of 14. How can we begin to tackle such a monumental challenge?
The government has published one of its plans to do so, which includes the appointment of School Mental Health Leads.
Likely to be existing members of staff within the setting, they will receive specialist training to support those children and young people who may be struggling. Furthermore, they will speak with staff about their own mental wellbeing, should they feel comfortable to do so.
Much like the Thrive Approach, School Mental Health Leads will strategise a whole school approach. Assessing what can be done for all children and adults to promote healthy wellbeing and resilience. Mental health problems may not be obvious to staff. Children may be performing well or not expressing disruptive behaviours. It is these children, who may be going under the radar, who especially benefit from the structure of a whole school approach.
To find out more about the role, how it could be implemented in your setting, and when you may potentially begin to see changes, click here.