It’s a decade now since the CAMHS Review surprised us by saying that ‘mental health is everybody’s business’. Much has changed and nothing has changed!
What has definitely changed is the increase in children and young people with mental well-being needs and in the nature of those needs. That 2008 document talked about the 1 child in 10 that could have a clinical diagnosis but, today, we know so much more about the challenging situation.
Here are 5 facts that we know from the research:
- The incidence of vulnerable mental health in a classroom, that would not reach threshold for clinically diagnosis, is nearer 12 in 30 pupils – nearer 40%!
- Poverty is one of the main contributors to children’s poor mental health; a child living in material sufficiency has heard more than 30 million more words by the age of 4 than a child in poverty.
- Prevention strategies for the vulnerably young have resulted in increased medication being prescribed to children.
- For every direct interaction of 40 minutes, a Primary phase pupil will have 26 hours of screen time.
- Pupils are more likely to slow down after an initial error. Subsequent errors shift the child’s mind from worries about the task to worries about failing. Then they stop doing the task.
With the double whammy of vulnerable children not meeting threshold for support and an increase in those numbers and needs, we are in a critical state. And that’s before you add in the additional factor of reduced specialist support for those with targeted needs!
So what can schools do? What does best practice look like?
Today, it’s not just about pastoral care, climate and ethos, however important they are as a safety net.
Today, it’s about neuro-diversity and teaching to the limiting beliefs and learning behaviours that result from anxiety and depression.
Does your school have mental health fitness? If you haven’t already Take the test on my website to see what more you can do.
Together we can make a difference!