As one of the contributors to today’s edition of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour said, “We didn’t have any education about mental health or suicide”.
So why are we talking about this today? Because suicide is the biggest single cause of death amongst young men, and because Radio 1 is broadcasting a programme on this subject this evening, at 9.00pm.
Schools urged to do more?
This is from the BBC website:
Compulsory “emotional health” lessons in schools could help to stop young people ending their lives, according to two leading mental health charities.
The Samaritans and YoungMinds both say anti-suicide classes should be a mandatory part of the curriculum.
Joe Ferns from the Samaritans said he wanted “lessons about coping skills and conversations about seeking help”.
Schools have the freedom to tailor teaching as they “know pupils best”, the Department for Education said.
Indeed. We could say the same thing for every other area of learning.
So how many schools are currently proud of what they offer in terms of wellbeing and mental health, and are they willing to share what they do (or don’t do) with other schools? If so, we’ll be very happy to act as an information exchange.
Officially close to 1,600 people aged between 15 and 34 took their own lives in 2011, the most recent year for which an age breakdown is available.
It works out at about four deaths in that age group each day.
Statistics also show that men make up around three out of every four deaths from suicide.
“We would like to see more in the National Curriculum around the issues to do with emotional health,” said the Samaritans’ Joe Ferns.
The Department for Education said schools must “promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development“.
Staff had a “freedom to tailor their teaching so that it meets the needs of their pupils”, it added in a statement.
“We believe [teachers] know pupils best – not politicians in Westminster.”
We must surely agree with the Department of Education: Politicians do not know best, and schools should tailor their teaching so that it meets the needs of their pupils.
Every child of every age has the right to PSHE that enables them to learn across all of their intelligences – personal, social, physical and instinctual – whilst also developing their intellect and their emotional literacy.