School kids and mum

Teachers

There are many ways to introduce positive mental health into the school environment. This section has useful resources for school staff.

At any one time 10-20% of school-age young people will have a mental health problem.

 

How Common are Mental Health Problems in the School Years?

The Impact on Educational Performance

Resilience and Emotional Well-being

Why Schools are Vital to Improving Emotional Health and Well-being of Young People

How can Schools make a Difference?

Our Research

Support for Teachers

Tools and Resources


How Common are Mental Health Problems in the School Years?

The majority of mental health problems emerge during adolescence and early adulthood with over half appearing before the age of 16. At any one time 10-20% of young people of school age will have a mental health problem yet most are not identified or appropriately supported at the time.

The Impact on Educational Performance

Poor mental health is associated with low educational performance and absenteeism; additionally, conduct and hyperkinetic disorders disrupt the educational environment for other children. Many other problems such as teenage pregnancy, exam stress, drug use, alcohol use and bullying are associated with mental health issues.

Resilience and Emotional Well-being

Youthspace will be introducing a series of articles on Resilience and Emotional Well-being over the coming months to introduce the most recent thinking and research findings on this important topic.

 "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." (World Health Organisation)

Resilience is…

...the ability to bounce back from a negative experience.

…achieving positive outcomes despite challenging or threatening circumstances.

…a broad conceptual umbrella relating to positive adaption (Masten & Obradovic 2006).

''There is no such thing as an 'invulnerable child' who can overcome any obstacle or adversity that she encounters in life. Resilience is not a rare and magical quality. In fact it is quite common'’ (Masten., 2001).

The primary factor in resilience is having positive relationships inside or outside one’s family. It is the single most critical means of handling both ordinary and extraordinary levels of stress.

Why Schools are Vital to Improving Emotional Health and Well-being of Young People

Schools have a key role to play in the implementation of emotional well-being and mental health knowledge in young people. They have unparalleled access to young people, including those from ethnic minority groups, and those with less obvious mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, who may otherwise be missed by psychiatric services. They also have the ability to address interrelated academic, emotional, behavioural, and developmental needs.


However, there are often little resources, including time and money to develop programmes into increasing mental well-being. Schools are under resourced and therefore cannot always address these non-academic barriers to learning as thoroughly as they would like to – yet investing in providing emotional resilience in students and staff can benefit the school in many positive ways in addition to improving mental health. The Royal College of Psychiatry have stated: ‘‘Promoting mental health can save money in the short and long term. Evidence shows the cost-effectiveness of investing in mental health promotion, mental illness prevention and early intervention strategies’.

How can Schools make a Difference?

Research strongly supports the positive impact of adopting a whole school approach to improving well-being and emotional resilience. There are many ways to introduce positive mental health into the school environment. Youthspace have compiled more information about the role of schools in improving children’s mental health, as well as a host of links and resources for school staff and more in our Resources section.

Our Research

Schoolspace – Our Schools Research Programme in Birmingham

“Our on-going programme of research with schools in Birmingham has included a randomised controlled trial led by Dr Katherine Chisholm (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/12/23), surveys and focus groups with young people and teachers.  We are pleased to announce the launch of our most recent study (SchoolSpace Study), led by Dr Charlotte Connor, which is funded by the National Institute of Health Research as part of the Collaboration for Leadership and Applied Health Care – West Midlands. This study sees us working in partnership with several secondary schools in Birmingham (the SchoolSpace Network) and is focused on the development of interventions for young people with eating disorders (www.theschoolspace.me)”.

Support for Teachers

Teacher Support Network

Counselling, information and research for all teachers.

Teachers Assurance Network

Teachers Assurance is a financial services provider, set up over 135 years ago by what was to become the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

 

Tools and Resources

eLearning Modules: An Introduction to Mental Health

Young people from the Youthspace Youth Board worked with mental health clinicians to develop 3 interactive and engaging modules:

  1. Bridge the Gap - Raising awareness of youth mental health
  2. Remove the Barriers - Engaging young people
  3. Assessment - Building confidence with the youth approach

These learning tools can be helpful for students, clinicians and anyone interested in learning more about mental health. Take a look by clicking here: eLearning Modules

 

Youthspace have also compiled a number of downloadable resources which may be useful for school staff to use with their students, as well as resources for teachers and students to use independently (see below) or Resources for more.