On an almost daily basis at the moment we are reading about mental health concerns. Worryingly, included in this group of people written about, are young children. With this also being anti-bullying week it seemed a poignant time to talk about this.
But surely children are too young to suffer from any sort of mental health problems?
Sadly the government is right to focus on children’s mental health. Stats drawn from the Health Committee enquiry into Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2014 indicate that:
- About half of these (5.8%) have a conduct disorder, 3.7% an emotional disorder (anxiety, depression), 1-2% have severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and 1% have neurodevelopmental disorders.
- One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years has a mental disorder.
- The rates of disorder rise steeply in middle to late adolescence and the profile of disorder changes with increasing presentation of the types of mental illness seen in adults.
In addition the Health Committee also received evidence suggesting roughly 30% of English adolescents reported a level of emotional wellbeing considered as (sub-clinical) “low grade” poor mental health, that is they regularly (at least once a week) feel low, sad or down. The levels were higher among girls than boys.
These are shocking statistics and more can and should be done within schools to address them . Many schools have already taken steps towards addressing issues with extended pastoral teams and good results have been seen and there are many initiatives you can use within schools that do help with this growing problem.
Understanding triggers and reasons behind mental health is a good place to start and something that should be discussed at length within schools however a well placed, qualified and committed pastoral team is also essential to have a positive effect on the childrens well being and mental state. The benefit of a confidante or supportive ally within school who understands you should never be underestimated.
There are also a number of activities you could run within school and lessons which help to support and promote confidence and support children with low self esteem etc. There are some great ideas right here.
At MTC we also run a variety of courses and our Mental Health in Schools in now up and running. All information can be viewed right here.