What causes mental health problems in schools

1 in 6 school-aged children has a mental health problem, and 75% of diagnosable mental health conditions are present before the age of 18. In 2017 we raised 103,000 signatures during our Headucation campaign for a parliamentary debate which led to compulsory mental health education in schools from the September 2020 school year. Despite this, teachers receive no compulsory mental health training, which has left them feeling overwhelmed and unequipped to support the children under their supervision.

Poor mental health can lead to serious problems in school including low attendance, poor grades and disruptive behaviour, therefore it’s crucial – not only for a child’s wellbeing, but also for their education and social development – that teachers know how to support common mental health challenges.

Our Headucation 2025 campaign aims to train 150,000 teachers in the basics of mental health support by 2025 – as part of this campaign we want to educate teaching staff about what can put children at higher risk of developing a mental health condition.

Bullying

Being the victim of bullying can massively affect a person’s mental health, as can being the bully themselves. Those involved in bullying are at a higher risk of developing long term anxiety or depression as a result of the experience. While many educators place an emphasis on preventing bullying in the first place, consideration also needs to be put into looking after the wellbeing of those who have been bullied already.

Abuse

Those who suffer abuse, whether from friends or family, may experience mental distress as well as physical pain. They may require counselling or additional support in school to ensure they have the space to recover from their traumatic experience.

Bereavement

At any age, we are all saddened by the loss of a loved one – but for a child this can be a particularly distressing and overwhelming experience. Children may experience a range of emotions and exhibit abnormal behaviours – if not dealt with correctly, these can lead to long term mental health conditions and behavioural problems. Ensure your school has the proper training in place in to handle bereavement or reach out to a children’s bereavement organisation.

Substance abuse

Many teenagers turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the difficulties that come with transitioning to adulthood. While substance abuse in itself is a serious problem, it can also severely impact a young person’s mental health by inhibiting key developmental processes and distorting their view on reality. Some teens even turn to substances as a way to cope with their existing mental health struggles so it’s not only a risk factor, but a sign of poor mental health.

Difficult home situations

Difficult home situations like divorce or arguments between family members can be incredibly stressful and upsetting for children. Schools may need to provide extra support to children in these situations who are at risk of suffering from long term stress, anxiety or depression.

Moving house or school

Large transitions like moving house or school may be difficult for some children to handle. Many may display changes in their behaviour or academic performance in response to these transitions – often these changes are actually caused by mental health challenges, e.g. stress or anxiety, triggered by the move. If a new child is joining your school or an existing pupil is moving house, consider providing additional support to help them manage their mental wellbeing.

Pre-existing conditions

Conditions such as ADHD or autism will likely already be receiving extra attention in schools to support children with their academic development. However, these children are also at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions than other children. It’s important that attention is paid to supporting their mental health and developing practical skills that can help them with challenges later in life.

Shawmind is dedicating itself to training 150,000 teachers by 2025 in the basics of mental health support at no cost to the school. That means we aim to equip mental health first responders who will reach 2.5-million school children.

If you’re a teacher or school leader interested in mental health training, please get in touch with us. Your school could be eligible for fully-funded mental health training.

Help us achieve our goal. Donate now or purchase one of our training programmes (all profits from our training programmes go towards our Headucation 2025 campaign).

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Top 10 Children’s Mental Health Resources

Children’s mental health has never been more critical. We’ve just been through an extraordinary worldwide event, children have been thrown in and out of their routines and kept away from their friends.

Even before all of this, children’s mental health was a serious matter with 1 in 6 school-aged children experiencing a mental health problem. So let’s make sure we’re here to support them by reducing mental health stigma, encouraging kids to talk about mental health and providing early intervention for mental health conditions.

As part of our #Headucation2025 campaign, Shawmind is committed to train 150,000 teachers in the UK in the basics of mental health support to enable them to act as mental health first responders in schools and classrooms.

Alongside this larger campaign, we want to share as much advice and knowledge as we can to support children’s mental health. Here are our top 10 favourite mental health resources that you can use at home or at school to educate and support children.

1. Children’s Mental Health Books From Trigger Publishing

Trigger Publishing have created a selection of fun, illustrated children’s books about mental health that can be used both by children on their own and by adults as a way to start a conversation about mental health.

2. Sock It To Stigma Mental Health Resources

Every February at Shawmind, we celebrate #SockItToStigma. A month where we focus on reducing the stigma around mental health in schools and workplaces. We have developed a pack of classroom resources (including wordsearches and colouring sheets) that engage children in the conversation about mental health. Download your free mental health resources.

3.“We All Have Mental Health” Video

This video, created by the Anna Freud Centre, is a great way to explain mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it. “We All Have Mental Health” is a 5 minute animated video that tells the story of school children struggling with mental health – it is so effective it is often used in adult mental health training too.

4. MeeToo Peer Support App

MeeToo is an anonymous free service for young people aged 11+ to discuss anything that’s troubling them, including mental health. The app is a safe space where users can get peer support from those of a similar age and experience. All posts and replies are checked before going live so there is no harassment, bullying or grooming. The MeeToo app also has an internal directory linking to mental health helplines and resources.

5. Childline “For Me” App

A great option for those who are too young to join MeeToo, the Childline “For Me” app allows children to create their own mood journal, start confidential chats directly with a counsellor and access lots of games and support resources.

6. Fink Cards

Fink Cards are a set of question cards designed to help children answer questions about mental health that will help them learn about common mental health conditions, how to maintain good mental health and how to seek mental health support. These cards were developed by Place2Be, a leading children’s mental health charity.

7.Anna Freud #SelfcareSummer Packs

The Anna Freud Centre have developed #SelfcareSummer packs for primary and secondary school children. These packs are free to download and contain a series of activities to help young people understand, evaluate and maintain their own mental health.

8.Stress Relieving Activities from Calm Zone

Calm Zone, created by Childline, contains a wide range of activities to help children let go of stress. These include breathing exercises, mental health tools, and games they can play.

9.YoungMinds Mental Health Guides

YoungMinds, a national young people’s mental health charity, have created a series of mental health guides. These are great resources for teenagers who want education or support around a wide range of mental health challenges including how to talk to friends about mental health, gender and mental health, and drugs.

10.The Mix Mental Health Support

The Mix is a service that provides under 25’s with support and advice across a number of different areas. They have a great selection of mental health support resources including articles, a helpline and a chat service.

Mental health is as important to a child’s safety and wellbeing as their physical health. It can impact on all aspects of their life, including their educational attainment, relationships and physical wellbeing. So let’s look after it.

Support our mission to train teachers in the basics of mental health so that they can act as mental health first responders for schoolchildren. Donate now or purchase one of our training packages (all proceeds go to Headucation 2025).

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Top tips for looking after men’s mental health

In the UK, around 1 in 8 men have a common mental health condition and 3 out of 4 suicides are committed by men. Why, then, do so few men take time off work for mental health challenges like low mood and depression?

Stigma.

While stigma still exists for all mental health challenges to some degree, it is arguably more prevalent around men’s mental health. In many cultures, males are meant to fulfil a traditionally masculine role, and any admission that they need help may be perceived as a sign of weakness. As a result, men are more likely to turn to substance abuse when struggling with mental health which can lead to them being categorised as addicts rather than as somebody struggling with mental health problems.

One of the best ways to reduce the stigma around mental health for men is to talk about it. Over the past few years, more and more male celebrities have been sharing their own mental health stories to help others understand that it’s ok to talk and seek help.

Men’s mental health role models

Dwayne ‘The Rock Johnson

Regardless of who you are or what you do for a living, depression doesn’t discriminate … The key thing I found is … especially for us as guys….you gotta talk about it, you’re not alone.

Steven Gerrard

“I think the key to it all is never keeping it in and never thinking that’s the right thing to keep it in”

Ryan Reynolds

“I tend to get pretty depressed and I have some issues with anxiety and things like that”

Freddie Flintoff

“The hardest thing for me was talking”

Michael Phelps

“I remember sitting in my room for four or five days not wanting to be alive, not talking to anybody”

Olly Murs

“Underneath it all I was just worrying about what was going to happen and I was actually depressed”

Where can you find support for men’s mental health?

We believe the key to supporting any mental health condition is in early intervention – i.e. finding support as early as possible before your mental health can deteriorate to suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Research has shown that men are more likely to seek mental health support if it is made available online, anonymously and at any time of day, therefore our recommendations focus on support methods that meet those conditions.

Support groups & forums

We host a monthly ManCave event designed to provide a safe non-judgemental space for men to come together and discuss mental health. You can come along to seek advice, share your own experiences, provide support for other men, or at first simply join with your camera and microphone off to listen to the session and know that you’re not alone.

You can also join our free Health Unlocked community to get tips and discuss problems with others in an anonymous online forum.

Mental health apps

Shawmind are working with Flourishzone to improve the mental health and wellbeing of 1000 people in the UK via their AI-powered wellbeing app. Flourishzone provides you with your own confidential world where you can develop whatever skills you like including resilience and practical mental health skills.

Support lines

CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) have a helpline and webchat you can use from 5pm to midnight 365 days of the year. CALM are dedicated to supporting men who are feeling suicidal or who need to talk for any reason. Quite accurately they proclaim “Being silent isn’t being strong.”

4 Men’s mental health tips

Men need to look after their mental health as much as any other individual but it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some tips to help you look after your mental health:

  1. Get plenty of exercise – even a short walk can massively improve your mental wellbeing
  2. Talk regularly to friends and loved ones to maintain human contact (and help each other spot when something changes!)
  3. Make time for yourself even if you have a job and/or family to look after – you can’t care for anyone else if you’re not first taking care of yourself
  4. Eat and drink well – your physical health can have a huge impact on your mental health and vice versa so looking after both is key!

If you or a man you know needs support with mental health, feel free to come to one of our events or send us a message via WhatsApp.

Mental health is not a weakness. But without early intervention it can become much more serious. Help us in our mission to support mental health by donating or participating in one of our training sessions.

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Signs of anxiety to look out for in children

Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness or fear that, in many situations, is normal to experience – however when you feel this way most of the time it can be debilitating and massively impact how you function on a day-to-day basis.

As adults, it can be incredibly difficult to identify and manage anxiety. So, just imagine what it feels like for a child who is struggling with anxiety themselves.

What factors put children more at risk of anxiety?

While anxiety can arise for seemingly no reason, there are some situations that more often lead to children developing anxiety:

  • Bullying
  • Abuse
  • Bereavement
  • Substance abuse
  • Divorce or difficult home situation (e.g., frequent arguments between parents)
  • Moving house or school
  • Pre-existing conditions such as ADHD or autism

Signs of anxiety in children

With children spending seven hours a day at school, here are some signs of anxiety that teachers should look out for:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor performance
  • Feeling tired
  • Change in eating habits
  • Easily angered or irritated
  • Frequent toilet visits
  • Constant worrying and negative thoughts
  • Complaining of physical pain like stomach aches and headaches
  • Emotional outbursts (e.g., crying or tantrums)
  • Being clingy
  • Disruptive behaviour

What to do if a child in your class has anxiety

  • Have someone in the school start a conversation with them – preferably a teacher or teaching assistant with mental health first aid or ELSA training
  • Talk openly about anxiety in the classroom to reduce the stigma around mental health – you can use our Sock It To Stigma classroom materials to help you
  • Talk to the child’s parents and refer them to professional support if appropriate

According to the latest research, one in six UK school children have a probable mental health disorder. Aside from parents, teachers are the adults that children spend most of their time with during the day. It is crucial that anyone who works with children can recognise the signs that a child may be struggling with their mental health and, more importantly, that they know how to take appropriate action. But with no compulsory mental health training, this task can feel overwhelming and difficult.

Our Headucation 2025 campaign aims to train 150,000 teachers in the basics of mental health support by 2025. Your school could be eligible for fully-funded mental health training. Get in touch with our team to find out more.

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Why think about mental health first aid in the workplace?

We know we talk about mental health first aid in the workplace a lot, but it is increasingly important for businesses to make sure they are doing everything they can to look after their employee’s mental health. Here’s why.

Improve productivity

Staff suffering with mental health conditions may find it hard to focus and carry out day-to-day activities. There has also been a rise in presenteeism, particularly in 18-29 year olds, where employees will not take time off to deal with mental illness and will instead continue to work either at a poorer level or until they burnout completely.

Mental health conditions that are not dealt with early on can lead to more severe situations where employees end up taking extended time off.

In 2019/2020 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health, according to the HSE’s Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain report 2020.

A mental health first aider is equipped to spot when someone is showing signs of depression, stress or anxiety and can step in before it becomes a problem that has a huge impact on their day-to-day productivity.

Improve staff morale

Someone suffering with a mental health condition like anxiety or paranoia may cause them to doubt themselves, take criticism personally, and need constant approval for even minor tasks – none of which is good for the overall staff morale. By having Mental Health First Aiders in your business, you can spot when people are struggling with anxiety and put practices or processes in place to improve their self-esteem and support their mental health.

Save money

It is estimated that poor mental health at work costs the UK economy up to £70bn each year. This is because untreated mental health conditions lead to poor productivity, presenteeism, absenteeism and high staff turnover.

However, research conducted by Deloitte found that businesses who invest in supporting employee mental health get an average of £5 back for for every £1 spent on things like Mental Health First Aid training, Employee Assistance Programmes and other mental health training.

Attract and retain top talent

While only 42% of employers believe that workplace mental health strategies are important to job hunters, research has shown that 88% of professionals consider it when searching for new roles.

Research has also shown that mental health support at work is vital when it comes to keeping staff. Businesses who actively look after their employee’s mental health could retain 78% of 18-24-year-olds who leave, 42% of their overall workforce and 25% of their critical staff. (Source)

Investing in employee mental health will help your business grow and make sure that employees enjoy working for you. Get started with our Mental Health First Aid training.

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For more support with mental health strategies in your workplace, get in touch with our team.

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Help with Health Anxiety

Health anxiety (or hypochondria) is when you become obsessed with the idea that you are – or will be – physically ill. Worrying about your health can lead you to miss out on experiences in your life and even develop physical symptoms.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, it is understandable to be more aware and wary of physical illnesses – however if you are experiencing so much anxiety about your health that you are struggling to focus on anything else, you may want to consider seeking help.

Health anxiety symptoms

You may be struggling with health anxiety if you:

  • Visit/call your GP regularly
  • Worry that medical tests and doctor’s examinations may miss something wrong with you
  • Frequently check yourself for signs of serious illness and self-diagnose
  • Constantly worry about your physical health
  • Obsessively research health information online
  • Avoid reading, watching or listening to things that talk about physical illnesses (e.g. medical dramas, case studies, etc)
  • Live your life as if you were ill even when you’re not – taking sick days, avoiding physical activity, not travelling far from home

Physical symptoms of health anxiety

Health anxiety can also manifest in several physical symptoms brought on by continuous stress and worrying, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Panic attacks
  • Dry mouth
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Aching body and muscles

Help with health anxiety

There are a few different ways you can manage your health anxiety

  • Write down and challenge your thoughts – rather than letting worries build in your mind, jot them down along with some reasons why they might not be true e.g. “I’m getting lots of headaches which means there’s something wrong with me” leads to “headaches are often a sign of stress” which in turn leads you to question what’s causing stress and address it.
  • Keep busy – when you feel the urge to check yourself or research illnesses, go for a walk or do an activity that keeps your mind distracted.
  • Face your fears – if there’s a part of your life you’ve been avoiding (such as exercise or travel), start to introduce these back into your routine to gradually become more comfortable doing them and teach your brain that these activities aren’t dangerous.
  • Talk to someone about your health anxiety – talk to a friend, your workplace mental health first aider or use services like our Breathe Café Online to get support from trained volunteers.
  • Talk to a professional – if these self-help ideas don’t work to relieve your health anxiety over time, contact a GP or mental health professional for more support.

 

Anxiety of any kind is debilitating. It can destroy productivity and takes the joy out of life.

At Shawmind, we’re here to help you enjoy your life and perform at your best through support groups, mental health training and professional advice.

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Signs of anxiety to look out for in the workplace

 

Anxiety is a normal response to worrying situations and everyone is likely to feel moments of anxiety in their lives. However, when feelings of anxiety persist it can be hard for someone to control their worries and live their lives as normal.

Knowing what signs of anxiety to look out for in the workplace can help you to a) support someone in their time of need and b) prevent the anxiety from deteriorating into other mental health conditions.

Mental health conditions overall can be hard to spot since they affect people’s thoughts and emotions – however there are a number of physical and behavioural signs that might signal someone you work with is struggling with anxiety.

Signs of anxiety in the workplace:

  • Taking unusual amounts of time off work
  • Increased pessimism and lack of enthusiasm
  • Seeking constant approval and reassurance from managers and/or peers
  • Struggling to meet deadlines
  • Overreacting to comments or situations
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Change in eating habits
  • Forgetfulness

What can you do if you think someone is struggling with anxiety

Mental Health First Aid

If your workplace has a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA), this is a great person to mention your concerns to. Mental Health First Aiders have been trained to spot the signs of common mental health conditions in those around them but if they don’t work closely with the person affected they might miss them.

The MHFA can then start a conversation with the person to understand why they’re struggling and what next steps need to be taken.

Mental Health First Aiders are not currently a legal requirement for businesses but they have significant benefits.

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Start a conversation

If your workplace does not yet have a Mental Health First Aider, you can start a conversation with the person who is struggling yourself. Often, the stigma attached to mental health prevents those suffering from reaching out for help – so by initiating the conversation yourself you may encourage them to open up. If you have a story of your own that you’re comfortable sharing this can be a great way to further reduce the stigma and encourage them to talk.

However, not everyone will want to talk to you so be careful to push or put pressure on them to open up. Simply let them know you’re there if they want to talk.

Ensure they take breaks

Anxiety can make people dwell on the negative parts of their life or job which only triggers more anxiety. So a good way to combat this is to help people take breaks to remove themselves from the anxiety triggers and focus on the things they enjoy.

It can be hard to enforce breaks at work, especially if it’s busy so you might want to try encouraging people to spend more time on the things they enjoy rather than trying to get them to spend less time dwelling on the bad. E.g. if the person enjoys reading, you could set up a book club amongst your colleagues to encourage more time reading outside of work rather than simply telling the person to stop thinking about the negative parts of their day.

Go for walks together

The effect that a walk outdoors can have on a person is amazing. The physical activity of walking (or doing any exercise) releases chemicals in the body that reduce stress, anxiety and depression while being outdoors has a whole raft of similar benefits triggered by increased daylight and exposure to plants.

Going on these walks together also ensures that the person will take a break from their day to do it as you’re holding them accountable. You may even find that they open up to you about their mental health during these walks being out of the office environment and away from their triggers.

Encourage them to seek support

If someone you work with is struggling with anxiety, encourage them to seek support from a mental health professional or organisation like Shawmind. Getting the right advice as early as possible can prevent mental health issues from deteriorating into a life-threatening situation.

There are several mental health organisations that offer a variety of services depending on a person’s needs. At Shawmind we have a Whatsapp number that anyone can use to get support alongside a selection of support groups including our Breathe Café and ManCave.

Important: you are not responsible for making sure a person seeks mental health support. All you can do signpost appropriate services and then leave it up to the individual to take it further.

Everyone is likely to struggle with their mental health at some point in their lives. Let’s make sure your business is able to help your employees when they’re struggling. Want more advice about looking after mental health in your workplace? Book onto one of our mental health training sessions or get in touch.

 

 

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What does mental health first aid training cover?

This April is Stress Awareness Month. With 55% of sick days in 2019/20 being directly attributable to workplace-related stress, anxiety and depression*, we wanted to look at one of the best ways to provide workplace support: by having mental health first aiders in your organisation.

To become a mental health first aider (MHFA) you need to attend an accredited course, there are several to choose from.

But what do you cover in mental health first aid training?

Knowledge of Mental Health Challenges

The first step to being able to help those in your organisation with their mental health is to have a thorough knowledge of the various mental health challenges that people face. Understanding exactly what mental health issues employees are struggling with (e.g. stress, anxiety or depression) can help you to build trust and provide appropriate support.

What factors affect mental health

Understanding what factors affect a person’s mental health and wellbeing can not only help you anticipate when someone is likely to be struggling based on their environment, but it can also help you to take preventative measures to protect their mental wellbeing in the first place. If you knew that the workforce was about to become stressed because of certain factors like deadlines or personal commitments – wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to help them?

Identifying signs of mental health struggles

Not everyone will feel confident enough to come to you when they are struggling with their mental health so you must know what signs to look out for. By being on the lookout for these signs you can reach out to people who haven’t yet talked to you and implement tactics in the workplace to protect their mental health from deteriorating further.

How to support someone struggling with mental health

Once you’ve identified that someone in the workplace is struggling with their mental health, a large part of your role as a mental health first aider is to provide initial support and guidance. In mental health first aid training, you’ll learn how to best support individuals based on the mental health challenges they are struggling with. You will also learn about the mental health first aid action plan that you can follow for each individual who needs help with their mental health, and how to work with your colleagues to develop a workplace wellbeing plan.

Enhanced interpersonal skills

Being a mental health first aider in the workplace requires you to have strong interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening. This course will help you develop those skills so that your employees and/or colleagues feel comfortable talking to you about their mental health and so that you feel confident providing support.

Resources & support for individuals

As a mental health first aider, you are the first point for support and guidance. For complex or long term mental health conditions you will likely need to signpost individuals to professional resources and support services such as helplines, GPs or private therapies. During your mental health first aid training, you will be educated about the various resources that are out there and when they would be the most appropriate next step for those in your workplace. These may also be guided by your company’s wellbeing policies.

How to look after your own mental health in your MHFA role

The adage “you cannot look after anyone else if you’re not looking after yourself” rings true for mental health first aiders too. ‘Everyone has mental health’ is one of the first things you learn on the MHFA course. Just like physical health. As a mental health first aider you will be taking on the challenges that everyone else in your organisation is facing which can be emotionally draining and stressful on top of your regular work responsibilities. Our mental health first aid training will teach you how to manage your own mental health and wellbeing while carrying out your MHFA role.

 

Want to become a mental health first aider? Book onto our next training

 

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How mental health affects education

NHS research suggests that 1 in 6 UK school children struggle with mental health. Mental health challenges make it difficult for children to achieve high grades, form friendships and make positive choices that can impact the rest of their lives.

Traditionally, educators have focused on improving ‘academic excellence’ – which of course is still a primary objective for schools. However, given how much of their lives children spend in an education setting, shouldn’t the focus also be on improving their overall wellbeing?

This is what our #Headucation campaign aims to address.

Mental health & academic performance

Many children actually achieve low grades because their mental health challenges cause:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of optimism
  • Difficulty sleeping

All of which makes it hard to focus on school work and put in their best effort. So if you want to improve grades, you need to make sure each child’s mental health is taken care of.

That’s not to say that only low-performing children are struggling with mental health – many high performing students struggle with stress, anxiety and other challenges brought on by their high workloads. These children are at risk of burning out or turning to risky methods of release such as substance abuse or gang-crime.

Mental health & behaviour

Children who struggle with their mental health can be prone to irritability, emotional outbursts, aggressive behaviours or boredom that leads to disobedience and disruption. Children exhibiting these behavioural issues are often punished with detentions or suspensions to reduce the risk of disrupting other students.

Behavioural problems caused by mental health challenges make it difficult for children to form relationships with their classmates – especially when school leaders separate them from the rest of the children.

Friendships and connections with classmates can improve academic performance, understanding of the subject, teamwork skills and self-esteem. Ideally, schools should work on children’s mental health challenges that are leading to behavioural problems in the first place before removing the children from what can be a highly-beneficial classroom setting.

Mental health & school attendance

For many children, struggles with mental health cause them to skip school or call in with physical illnesses. The stress and anxiety caused by workload, peer groups and social pressures can be overwhelming for anyone – let alone a schoolchild.

Similarly, the stigma that still exists around mental health problems can lead to bullying (or the fear of it) in children that have identified and acknowledged their mental health challenges.

If children don’t feel mentally well enough to attend their lessons in the first place, how are they meant to get an education?

How can schools help with mental health?

Spot signs of mental health struggles

Teachers spend a lot of time with children during the week, during that time they should be on the lookout for signs of mental health problems. Some common signs of mental health challenges in children are:

  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of confidence
  • Reduced socialising
  • Big changes in weight
  • Losing interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Frequent absences
  • Complaints of physical pain like headaches and stomach-aches

Reduce mental health stigma

To encourage children to come forward when they are struggling and to reduce bullying that occurs when they do, schools need to reduce the stigma around mental health. We have many guides and activities that you can use for children of all ages to help them understand mental health and start conversations without fear of judgement.

Trigger Publishing also have a great selection of children’s books to teach them about mental health.

Mental health training for teachers

With teachers expected to be the mental health first responder in the classroom, school leaders should make sure they train teachers in the basics of mental health to be able to more easily spot the warning signs and provide appropriate support.

Shawmind is dedicating itself to training 151,000 teachers by 2025 in the basics of mental health support at no cost to the school. That means we aim to equip mental health first responders who will reach 2.5-million school children. If you’re a teacher or school leader interested in mental health training, get in touch with us.

We need the support of local communities and businesses to help fund this training. It costs just £5 per child to train a teacher in the basics of mental health support – imagine the difference you could make by donating or booking one of our mental health training courses.

 

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Let’s improve your mental health awareness…

Mental health awareness is crucial to being able to support your friends, colleagues and relatives during difficult times. Having an awareness of some common mental health challenges and their symptoms enables you to reach out to people in need and reduce the stigma around mental health conversations.

On top of helping others, boosting your mental health awareness can actually help you to look after your own mental health and identify challenges sooner.

Mental Health Literacy

The first step to boosting your mental health awareness is to access all the literacy you can. At Shawmind, we’ve created many mental health guides for different groups of people and mental health challenges, including:

You can search for more mental health guides on our website, and also read individual mental health stories and get quick mental health tips in our blog.

Publishing company Trigger has a wide selection of mental health books that can help you improve your mental health awareness and support you with the challenges you’re facing.

Tip: Follow mental health organisations and ambassadors on social media to get advice and support straight in your feed without having to go looking for it.

Early Mental Health Support

When you first become aware of mental health challenges in your life, there are a range of low-commitment support options that you can explore – knowing what these are and how they can help makes tackling your mental health much less daunting.

Talking about your mental health challenge with someone is one of the simplest ways to start. We offer different ways that people can talk with trained volunteers who can provide advice, lend a kind ear and even signpost professional services if needed. These include:

Helplines are offered by many mental health organisations that you can text or call 24/7 to discuss any problem you’re facing without judgement. Find a mental health helpline.

Mental health first aiders are individuals in the workplace who have been trained to support you with mental health challenges you may be facing before a professional mental health specialist is contacted. You can go to a mental health first aider to discuss how you’re feeling during work hours and with someone who can provide recommendations based on an understanding of how the company works.

Accessing mental health support without a diagnosis

If you require professional mental health support, you can access a lot of it without needing an official diagnosis of a mental health disorder. Many organisations offer support services that only require a self-referral e.g. NHS talking therapies. Reach out to your preferred mental health service to find out if they accept self-referrals.

How to get a mental health diagnosis

You can struggle with mental health and access support without an official diagnosis – your challenges and feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s. Acknowledging this is a huge part of improving mental health awareness in yourself and others.

However, in some instances, a mental health diagnosis will help you to identify the best treatment options, triggers and potential risks in the future.

You can receive a mental health diagnosis from your GP for more common mental health problems like anxiety and depression after a couple of visits – however, in more complex cases they may refer you to a mental health specialist to receive a diagnosis.

 

It is more than likely that everyone will struggle with mental health at some point in their life. For some, this may be more severe than others – however, by increasing your own awareness you’ll be in a better position to get the support you or those you know need.

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