Mental Health in Schools: What should we be doing to help?

This blog is a contribution to Rachel Hodgson’s (HR Consultant) ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing‘ series which documents the reality of mental health conditions and how we should ALL be focusing on prevention to provide a lasting change:

Mental Health in Schools

Mental health in schoolsLast month I introduced Mental Health – Workplace, at home and beyond – WHY should I care?

This month my focus is on support in our schools. Why? Because the statistics on young people with mental health problems are alarming, I am a parent, I am a role model, we have a school, I am an HR Business Partner supporting the business objective with a strategic focus on building the talent pipeline, and of course, for the good of humanity. All good reasons to do something today!

The Statistics

We already covered the general statistics last month but look at the statistics on young people and how early mental health problems are established.

75% of mental health problems are established by age 24, and 50% by age 14. One in 10 of school-age children have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, including depression, anxiety or psychosis.

Focusing on Prevention

We really must focus on prevention to achieve a lasting change. Prevention is a key theme that was supported by the results of a public survey carried out by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness on behalf of the NHS Five Year Forward View national Mental Health Taskforce. The views of patients, carers, the public and health professionals were collected.

Earlier this year Theresa May announced a comprehensive package of measures to transform mental health support in our schools, workplaces and communities.

Prior to this NHS England had accepted recommendations by the Mental Health Taskforce and in June 2015 published an implementation plan detailing how it will deliver the recommendations.

This is all good news but the scale of the transformation required cannot be delivered by the NHS alone or driven solely from Whitehall.

We also know that knowledge alone is not going to make the changes and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of the information and knowing where to start. This is not about huge corporate initiatives it’s about what each of us can do to contribute to creating awareness of the problem.

Call to Action

  • Familiarise yourself with the information provided in the government report about promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing
  • Review the government’s advice for schools and ask your school how they are supporting their students
  • Remind your school that Mental Health Awareness Week is coming up in May and encourage them if they aren’t doing so already to get involved and contribute to the national conversation about whether we are surviving or thriving and what we can do to bring about change
  • Focus on what you identify with
  • Find your connection
  • What are the top 3 things that will have the greatest impact
  • Be an agent of change – do not wait to be told
  • Develop a programme of support no matter how small
  • Share your knowledge and energy but most important is to deliver on your ideas.

Please take a look at these links for further information.

It’s time to deliver. Translate your why into action.

‘Tomorrow is promised to no one. Prioritize today accordingly’. Gina Greenlee

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

8-14 May 2017 Theme – ‘surviving or thriving?’

Mental Health Awareness week is coming up in May so a potential opportunity to introduce a program of work for those wanting to use this as a springboard. The theme is ‘surviving or thriving’ which aims to outline practical steps we can take to build a mentally healthy country and help prompt a national conversation about what we can do to move from surviving to thriving. Click here for more information.

Rachel Hodgson

Written by , HR Consultant

Rachel’s background is in corporate HR in the permanent and contractor market supporting as an HR Business Partner in different industries and cultures predominately during rapid growth and transformation. Her experience working with a diverse workforce has enabled her to successfully support the business as an HRBP and as a subject matter expert at both individual contributor and people manager level. Most recently Rachel has taken time out to focus on Health and Wellness for personal development and to help others. This is an area of great interest and with the increase in focus on creating awareness of mental health issues she has built her knowledge to give her the ability to provide tangible advice. Advice on the benefits of good nutrition and regular exercise as well as practical methods to cope with stress. By sharing her own experience of her fitness transformation within her challenge groups the benefit to others has been more impactful and authentic. Rachel’s professional purpose is to work with organisations that are forward thinking and embraces a people agenda in-line with the business objective. She works hard to ensure that her role is valued and worthy of the effort that she puts in and contributes to the overall success of the organisation. By combining her interest in Health & Wellness with her HR experience her goal is to raise awareness of the current Mental Health challenges in the UK by providing practical thought provoking documentary on this subject matter.

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