Research has shown that 11% of children and young people between the ages of 5-16 have a diagnosable mental health condition (NHS Digital, 2017). It is also thought that 75% of all adult mental health conditions start before the age of 18, with 50% starting before the age of 14 (Kessler et al., 2005). Also, the number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that a child has experienced has been shown to be related to a higher incidence of a variety of mental and physical health difficulties (Hughes et al, 2017).
Research has also shown that schools are in an ideal position to provide a nurturing, supportive environment and positive, life-enhancing relationships that can be protective against mental health difficulties developing in the future. In particular, holistic, whole-school interventions with a focus on providing a healthy and safe environment are most likely to have a positive impact on mental health outcomes (Langford et al., 2014)
By offering our students a safe, structured environment where they feel they are attuned with others and that helps them develop strong emotional regulation skills, we are giving them a strong foundation from which to achieve their full potential in future life. Everyday interactions are key in building a feeling of safety, belonging and connectedness in order for emotional and cognitive brain development to flourish. When a child feels they have a strong connection to another person, whether adult or peer, it enables them to develop skills in emotional regulation that leads to resilience and confidence in the face of challenging situations in future life.
Some useful links:
https://www.samaritans.org/ - Samaritans – emotional listening support
https://www.sheffieldmentalhealth.co.uk/ - Sheffield Mental Health Directory
https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/ - Time to Change – ending mental health discrimination
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/ - NHS 5 steps to mental wellbeing
https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk// - Get Self Help – online self-help tools
https://www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/services/camhs/ - Sheffield Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
https://www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/services/camhs/healthy-minds/ - Sheffield Healthy Minds project
For children and young people
https://youngminds.org.uk/ - information on signs and symptoms of mental health difficulties, seeking help and looking after yourself
https://www.childline.org.uk/ - Childline – help and advice on a wide range of issues
http://positivepenguins.com/ - aimed at 8-12 year olds to help understand feelings and challenge negative thoughts
https://www.kooth.com/ - Kooth – free, confidential online support for young people
https://epicfriends.co.uk/ - how to support friends who may be struggling with mental health difficulties
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/ Mental Health Foundation
https://www.mind.org.uk/ - Mind – for better mental health
https://www.nspcc.org.uk/ - National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/ - Anxiety UK
https://www.winstonswish.org/ - Winston’s Wish – childhood bereavement charity
https://www.thechildrenssleepcharity.org.uk/ - Children’s Sleep Charity
https://www.talktofrank.com/ - Talk to Frank – honest information about drugs
Some useful help and links for parents and children during the Covid-19 outbreak
A guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and students during periods of disruption - a guide from the Anna Freud Centre.
WHO Leaflet - helping children cope with stress during the Covid-19 outbreak
Healthy Minds leaflet - some advice for parents
Autism Team Newsletter - March 2020
NHS website - Coronavirus resources for children and families
We are happy to report that our school will be involved in a joint project with Sheffield Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) called Healthy Minds.
Healthy Minds is a project that focuses on developing the whole school environment to best support young people’s mental health, rather than working on a one-to-one basis with students.
The Healthy Minds project includes:
- Training for all school staff on the fundamentals of young people’s mental health and the implications for learning.
- A Healthy Minds survey for students, parents / carers and staff to complete. This will help us to find out a range of views so that we can best understand the specific needs of our school.
- Based on the Healthy Minds survey, a mental health action plan will be developed for our school. This will include whole school interventions designed to meet mental health needs across the school.
- Creating a group of student Healthy Minds Champions. These students will represent children at our school making sure their views are heard and integrated into the school’s mental health action plan.
- Clarity for staff, students and parents about who they can talk to if they are worried about a young person’s mental health.
- Further development of the Sheffield CAMHS website for secondary students epicfriends.co.uk
- Specialist mental health training for key staff in schools.