Supporting schools to see, hear and hold children and young people's mental well-being

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.”

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.”

This expectation on schools to meet the emotional and mental health needs of their pupils has been recently reinforced by Ofsted, who state in their latest Regulations:

"This judgement focuses on the dimensions of the personal development of pupils that our educations system has agreed ... are the most significant:

  • developing pupils' confidence, resilience and knowledge so that they can keep themselves mentally healthy."

(School Inspection Handbook, May 2019)

As well as statistics around growing rates of mental health difficulties, schools face increasing pressures to reduce school exclusion rates. Statistics from the Department of Education in 2018 suggest that numbers of permanent school exclusions peaked at 7,720 in school year 2016/2017 (up from 6,685 the previous year) and short term exclusions rose from 339,960 to 381,865 in the same academic year.

Our aim at the Mind Map is to offer schools a toolkit of  workshops  and resources that support them in their efforts to pro-actively support the mental and emotional well-being of their pupils.  By developing children’s emotional literacy and understanding, from their earliest introduction to education, and by offering support for teachers, parents and all school staff in promoting and encouraging emotional well-being, we believe that children will be better equipped to use their words rather than their behaviour to communicate their emotional and mental state. Over time, this will not only result in calmer classrooms but will also encourage life-long positive behaviours around communication and well-being. Our programmes can be delivered as whole school assemblies, PSHE lessons or individual workshops and are aimed at promoting resilience, improving emotional literacy and encouraging better understanding and awareness of how to manage and maintain mental and emotional well-being.

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

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