Supporting young people’s emotional health and wellbeing
A highly complex and rapidly growing area of concern for all teachers – finding the right advice and guidance is central to ensuring schools, teachers and support staff do their level best to support all children and young people. The changing nature of this is well documented with an increasing number of factors now impacting on emotional mental health. This blog is more a resource for all concerned. I’ve tried to bring together a list of resources you will find helpful and informative. Many of these derive from the Public Health England document, ‘Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing. A whole school and college approach’. You’ll find the link at the end of this blog.
There’s no doubt a child’s emotional health and wellbeing significantly influences their cognitive development and learning as well as their physical and social health and their mental wellbeing in adulthood.
In an average class of thirty 15 year old pupils:
Three could have a mental disorder
Ten are likely to have witnessed their parents separate
One could have experienced the death of a parent
Seven are likely to have been bullied
Six may be self-harming
The Department for Education recognises that: “in order to help their pupils succeed; schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy”. There’s good evidence to support this assertion and Ofsted has highlighted that children and young people say they want to learn more about how to keep themselves emotionally healthy. Moreover, schools have a duty to promote the wellbeing of students.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises that primary and secondary schools should be supported to adopt a comprehensive, ‘whole school’ approach to promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people. Such an approach moves beyond learning and teaching to pervade all aspects of the life of a school and has been found to be effective in bringing about and sustaining health benefits.
DfE also identifies a whole-school approach to promoting good mental health as a protective factor for child and adolescent mental health. The report of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce (2015), identifies a national commitment to “encouraging schools to continue to develop whole school approaches to promoting mental health and wellbeing” (p 19).
I’ve pulled together a wide range of links worth exploring to help you be better informed. They’ll guide you to resources to explore and use in your everyday practise and hopefully influence whole school policy to better support the children and young people in your school.
Government guidance and advice
Mental health and behaviour in schools (2014) is departmental advice for school staff. Department for Education
Counselling in schools: a blueprint for the future (2015) is departmental advice for school staff and counsellors. Department for Education
Preventing and tackling bullying (2014) advice for head teachers, staff and governing bodies. Department for Education
Keeping children safe in education (2014) is statutory guidance for schools and colleges. Department for Education
Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (2014) is statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies in England. Department for Education
Health visiting and school nursing programme supporting implementation of the new service offer: promoting emotional wellbeing and positive mental health of children and young people
Future in mind – promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing (2015) is a report produced by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce to examine how to improve mental health services for children and young people. Department of Health
NICE guidance on social and emotional wellbeing in primary education
NICE guidance on social and emotional well-being in secondary education
NICE social and emotional wellbeing for children and young people pathway
What works in promoting social and emotional wellbeing and responding to mental health problems in schools? (2015) Advice for schools and framework document written by Professor Katherine Weare. National Children’s Bureau
Useful curriculum resources
Stop stigma is a classroom-based resource for secondary schools that helps address mental health stigma and raise awareness about mental health
Learning to ride elephants: teaching happiness and wellbeing in schools (2009) is a book about positive psychology and the teaching of wellbeing by Ian Morris who runs the Wellbeing programme at Wellington College
I gotta feelin’ Is a booklet providing top tips for year 7 students on how to feel good www.ucl.ac.uk/ebpu/docs/publication_files/year7_help4pupils
Dove self-esteem workshops are for students aged 11-14
On edge: learning about self-harm is a film and lesson plan resource pack for teachers and other professionals working with young people. Developed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Resources written by young people, for young people
Reach out north east newsletters are about mental health
Childline School Service is a service that uses specially trained volunteers to talk to primary school children about abuse. The aim is to give them the skills to protect themselves and know where to go for help. There is also a free helpline for children and young people. The helpline number is 0800 1111
Papyrus is a charity that aims to prevent young suicides. It has a helpline for young people at risk of suicide or for people worried about a young person at risk of suicide called HOPELineUK. The helpline number is 0800 068 41 41
Relate provides local counselling services for all ages including young people. It also has an online emotional support and advice resource called IRelate which provides information and access to an online counsellor
Rise Above helps 11-16 year olds build emotional resilience by equipping them with knowledge and skills to deal with pressures they may face. It also provides an online platform through which young people can converse with peers alongside professional support
YoungMinds Parents’ Helpline is a free, confidential helpline for any adult who is concerned about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25. The helpline number is 0808 802 5544
Youth Access offers a directory of local youth information, advice and counselling services for young people aged 14-25
Youth Health Talk provides advice and support on mental health issues from young people for young people
The aim of this blog is to provide a sound starting point and directions to professional services and advice. I hope you find something that supports you and your school towards positive emotional health and well-being.
Link to full Public Health England document:
Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing – A whole school and college approach