It’s Children’s Mental Health Week 2017, and we’re again disappointed to report that despite repeated calls for action regarding the increasingly poor mental health of our children and young people, effective policy change has not happened.
Increase in funding? – Not enough to make a significant impact.
Statutory PSHE and effective preventative measures? – Not yet. Not imminent either.
A careful analysis of the underlying issues that cause poor mental health? – Only by organisations involved in mental health and wellbeing, generally disregarded by those in power.
Policy makers and politicians are aware of the issues but there’s far too much burying of heads in the sand rather than tackling the crisis we’re facing with our many unhappy children and young people.
This time last year, we wrote a post titled “Children’s Mental Health Week: Action not Polemics”.
This year, we’ve had to use the same title – with a small addition.
Been there, done that – and nothing new to report.
Here’s some quotes from our previous post.
“We have to act now. We have to thoroughly review our systems, our priorities, our pedagogy, our legislation – identifying what’s good, what works, what we ought to prioritise and how we can effectively manage the necessary improvements needed for the mental and emotional wellbeing of our children and young people.”
We still must “act now”.
“Any action needs to be preventative as well as responsive to the needs of mentally unwell children – those neglected by a system that hasn’t accounted for their needs.”
Without preventative action, we’re going to be repeating the same errors and playing catch-up with neglected young people for yet another generation.
“Compulsory PSHE is essential to ensuring that every child understands their rights, needs and the value of being well.”
Yet more reports on the poor state of our children and young peoples’ wellbeing – of the huge increase in self-harming, of the ridiculous stress levels, of the perpetual incidents of bullying, name calling and anti-social behaviour mean that inaction is NOT an option.
As we’ve said previously, PSHE education isn’t a complete solution but it’s a fine and cost-effective starting point – with sufficient good quality training.
Last year’s post contained some links to some of our previous posts on wellbeing.
As an update, here’s another few posts from 2016.
- The problems of not having statutory PSHE Education.
- The need for a holistic education, as offered by our best independent schools.
- The former Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, and his views on wellbeing and happiness.
- Why Personal and Social Development work is needed. https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/mental-wellbeing-the-need-for-personal-and-social-development/
- How to manage children’s wellbeing. https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/managing-mental-health-and-children-self-harming/
- Former government “Mental Health Champion for Schools” Natasha Devon – who was so critical of the lack of action that she “left” her post. https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/natasha-devon-and-childrens-mental-health/
- Managing relationships.
- PSHE and Mental Health – and thanks to BBC Woman’s Hour for raising the issue. https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/more-on-mental-health-awareness-week-and-pshe/
- The Girls’ Attitude Survey 2016 by Girl Guides Association – with some alarming statistics.
- Yet another plea to act now.
These posts focus on wellbeing, PSHE education and the inadequate offering of state education when it comes to developing the whole child – or as we would say, developing all of the intelligences; intellect, instinct, social, personal, physical and spiritual intelligences.
It’s the development of these intelligences that contributes to being emotionally intelligent and mentally well.
Therefore, adapting work in schools to consider the development of all the intelligences is an absolute priority.
This year’s theme for Children’s Mental Health Week is “spread a little kindness”.
Place2Be has carried out a survey with over 700 10/11 year olds and the statistical data is sorry reading:
- 75% of children say they worry “all the time”. (ALL the time should send alarm bells ringing until someone does something).
- 2 out of 5 children say their worries affect their school work. (Add to that, those who don’t realise the impact on their work.)
- 1 in 5 children don’t know what to do when they’re worried. (This is something that statutory PSHE education could definitely put right.)
- 41% of 11 year olds worry “all the time” about not doing well at school. (And our policy makers think that adding more pressure of testing on children is going to help?)
The kindest thing that policy makers could do is to look at the horrendous facts in this document and take some concrete action to start addressing these huge issues.
Let’s hope that our post on this issue in February 2018 will carry a more positive and hopeful report for our children.
Advice from “Young Minds” activists.
Government Advice on Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools.
What schools can do in Mental Health Week.
(On that note, we would like to hear about what you’ve done this week and would happily publish your reports on this blog.)