Supporting schools to see, hear and hold children and young people's mental wellbeing

Our aim is to promote and encourage the improved mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people.

Background

In 2014, the Government established ‘The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Wellbeing Taskforce’.

Their aim was twofold; to consider ways in which children and young people’s mental health services could be better organised and to improve access to these services for the children and young people who needed them. Their findings were published in the report ‘Future in Mind’.

Of particular note was the growing number of children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties; it is estimated that currently, 1 in 10 children (approximately three children in every classroom) need support for their mental health. They also recognised the need for early intervention in child and adolescent mental health services, noting that 75% of adult mental health problems started by the age of 18. As they state:

“Failure to support children and young people with mental health needs costs lives and money. Early intervention avoids young people falling into crisis and avoids expensive and longer term interventions in adulthood.”

Despite this recognition, evidence shows that young people and their families still struggle to get the help and support they need. This was highlighted in a report published by the Education Policy Institute in September 2017 which stated that during 2016-17, over a quarter (26.3%) of children who were referred to specialist mental health services were not accepted into the services they needed- an average of around 52,000 children each month.

In December 2017, after further consultation, the Government published a Green Paper entitled, ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’ outlining ways in which they intend to deliver on the ambitions set out in Future in Mind.

A major part of the proposals set out in the Green Paper involves putting schools and colleges at the heart of Government’s efforts to intervene early and prevent child and adolescent mental health problems escalating. As the report states:

“There is clear evidence that schools and colleges can, and do, play a vital role in identifying mental health needs at an early stage, referring young people to specialist support and working jointly with others to support young people experiencing problems…..We want to ensure that all children and young people, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality mental health and wellbeing support linked to their school or college.”

One aspect of this initiative is the drive to introduce school counsellors to all senior schools in England. The benefits of this were highlighted in a report of the Welsh Assembly in 2013 (Statutory guidance to Welsh local authorities on the provision of independent counselling services, Guidance Document No:106/2013), which stated,

“Early and easy access to counselling can prevent mental health problems developing or becoming more serious, and can build up trust and confidence to enable young people to access more specialist services if required”

Whilst all senior schools in Wales are now required to provide school counselling services, the 2017 Green Paper recognised that only 61% of senior schools in England currently offer this.

Our aim at the Mind Map is to provide workshops and school counselling support that reinforces this initiative, enabling more schools to intervene early in the mental health needs of their children and young people. By developing children’s emotional literacy and understanding, from their earliest introduction to education, and by offering support for teachers and school staff in promoting and encouraging emotional wellbeing, we believe that children and their carers will be better equipped to manage and support their mental and emotional needs. In addition, by providing a whole school approach to mental wellbeing and offering a comprehensive school counselling service in all schools, we believe that the mental and emotional needs of young people will be met in a way that is consistent, accessible and thereby less stigmatising.

Please contact us to discuss the needs of your school, and how we might be able to work with you to support the mental health needs of your children and young people.

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