Children’s Mental Health Week – Find your Brave
4th February 2020
3 children in every classroom now has a mental health condition.
98% of teachers and school leaders encountered pupils they believed were experiencing mental health problems.
75% of all mental health problems are established by the time someone is 18.
75% of young people who are experiencing mental health problems aren’t receiving treatment.
Children’s Mental Health Week takes place between the 3rd-9th February this year. The theme is ‘Find your Brave’ and encourages young people to feel braver and talk about their mental challenges, share their worries and seek help when they need it. Bravery is not about coping alone or holding things in. Despite mental health being more openly discussed, there is still a stigma around the subject which presents a huge problem, especially for young people. Children should know and understand that seeking help for mental health struggles is just as normal as seeking help for physical struggles.
The above statistics highlight the growing problem and scale of mental health problems affecting young people. The mental health of young children has not been made a huge focus in society. If young children do not find their brave and get the support they need, the problem will only get worse and lead to long-term sufferings. If left alone, a child’s mental health will manifest inside of them. If identified and supported, these problems can be managed and prevented.
The Duchess of Cambridge released a statement to commemorate the start of Children’s Mental Health Week and said: “For many children today, the world can feel a scary and daunting place. While we might not always feel brave inside, even the smallest act – such as sharing a worry or asking for help – can be incredibly courageous.” We all have times when we need to Find our Brave.
A report out this week
An alarming news article published by The Guardian announced that three children in every classroom now has a mental health issue. English schools buying in mental health support has ‘almost doubled’ in three years, highlighting the increase in cases. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), recently indicated that schools have developed an improved understanding and recognition of children’s mental health needs, but headteachers say there is still a lack of capacity in specialist services for those with more serious problems. Only 4% of school leaders agreed that child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) respond quickly to requests for support, and 5% felt children referred to it “get help when they need it” due to the constant strain on the NHS and other external resources, meaning a lot of children are often left behind to struggle. Schools cannot be expected to tackle this problem alone and need expert help. The education minister Nick Gibb, commenting at the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, said: “as a government we are investing hundreds of millions every year in mental health support, including providing better links between mental health experts, schools and colleges and providing quicker access to specialist treatment where needed.” The increase in mental health issues amongst children, and the lack of external support, has identified a huge need to recognise the signs of poor mental health, identify those children who are struggling early, and intervene quickly, providing them with the support they need.
How we can help
Here at Impero, we aim to support schools to identify, prevent and help young people suffering from mental health issues. We have partnered with several charities and student safety specialists to help form our online safety solution, Impero Education Pro and our digital safeguarding system, Impero EdAware. By bridging online and offline concerns and generating a full picture of a student’s wellbeing, schools can flag early warning signs, intervene and ultimately keep students safe. Intervention management within Impero EdAware provides strong links between the school and external organisations, enabling schools to track and manage the follow-up action in relation to student mental health incidents, detailing any external referrals made. This digital record keeping can save staff time and simplify referrals, when needed, to relevant external services. In addition, students can ‘Find their Brave’ and proactively and confidentially report concerns within the Impero Education Pro platform that they may have using Confide (our anonymous reporting tool), to ensure every student feels supported, safe and able to talk about their mental health needs.
There is a range of handy resources, including assembly guides and class activities, on the Place2Be website for children and their teachers to start discussions – and explore what it means to be brave. Click here to get involved.