Awareness of mental health in schools has come a long way in recent years. Students of today have a range of support available to them and mental health awareness has transformed the environments in schools up and down the country. However, the changes made are only the first steps towards redesigning the school environments of today, to face the challenges of tomorrow.
The Future of Mental Health in Schools
In order to create a better environment for the children of tomorrow’s classrooms, there are a number of strategies being implemented across the nation, some of which are still in the early stages but promise a more supportive and positive ethos going forwards.
In the face of the growing number of children with mental health issues, there are many possible solutions, including:
– The Whole School Approach
The whole school approach to mental health is widely supported by charities and organizations throughout the UK for its benefit to positive mental health. This approach to metal health in schools revolves around the entire school getting involved, including parents and the larger community, to create a positive environment built on commitment to mental health support and awareness.
Implementing the whole school approach is an ongoing process that can provide one solution to a better-shaped future of mental health in schools. When adopting the approach, schools centre their values around positive mental health, put in place policies, and champion whole-school well-being to remove the stigma attached to mental health.
– Early Intervention
Early intervention has been identified as one of the most important aspects of mental health in schools, and improved strategies could be a key part of shaping the future of mental health. A recent proposal of early intervention in secondary schools by the Institute for Public Policy Research shows there are many benefits, including: improved accessibility, reduced reliance on specialists, ability to tackle contributors to mental health issues that emerge in school environments, and support for the whole school approach.
– Improved Teacher Training
The Mental Health Foundation Scotland conducted a survey which revealed that 71% of teachers felt that they were lacking suitable mental health training to tackle student concerns. There has been a great urge from teachers (92%) to include mental health training in the curriculum for teacher training, a change that could drastically impact the future of mental health in schools.
The government has stated their continued commitment to include staff training on mental health in schools across the UK. By 2019, they intend to provide training on mental health awareness to all secondary schools and achieve the same in primary schools by 2022.
While much has been done to spread awareness of mental health issues, there’s a lot of progress that still needs to be made to help the increasing rates of children who are suffering from mental health problems.
Many of the future strategies for improved mental health in schools rely on aspects of the whole school approach and bringing all stakeholders on board to improve every aspect of mental health. It’s largely down to educational leaders, teachers, staff, parents, and the wider community to keep taking steps towards creating a positive future for mental health awareness and support in schools.