Mental health in schools: parents' perspectives
Our Make it Count campaign focuses on mental health in schools, because mental health is not extracurricular. We want mental health to be at the heart of children's school experience.
Here, two parents tell their stories about their children's mental health challenges and the importance of mental health support in schools.
Jodi, from Nottingham, is an emergency department nurse. She has three children, aged 8, 10 and 15. Her youngest child is under a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) referral.
Jodi is passionate about mental health and has recently undertaken a project at work to improve the service emergency departments offer to adults with mental health problems. Jodi is supporting our Make it Count campaign as she would like to see schools place more emphasis on mental health.
"In my role as an emergency department nurse, I deal with situations that have gone beyond crisis point and that should have been dealt with much earlier on. However, I know as a parent, that getting that help isn't an easy task.
"My youngest child, who is currently under a CAMHS referral, is in a school which has a counselling service, however there are no counsellors currently in post. As a parent, it is very concerning that my son may not have anyone to talk to when he is experiencing difficulty at school. It is especially worrying as his behaviour has changed has changed since the summer holidays.
"Just as mental health is not offered the same parity as physical health, mental health education is not offered the same importance as maths, English and science.
"I am hugely passionate about schools providing mental health care for all children, what helps one child will be different to what works for another."
Anne-Marie, from Cumbria, is a trained primary school teacher. Her daughter is 16 and has experienced complex mental health difficulties.
"I am a primary school teacher, but have had to step out of the classroom for a while in order to support my 16 year old daughter with her mental health.
"Having moved from primary to secondary school, her mental health deteriorated rapidly. There was no one in the school at the time that spotted the changes in her behaviour. My daughter moved schools in year nine, to a school where she was much better supported.
"However, her mental health continued to decline to the extent that last year she was admitted to CAMHS three times.
"During this time, she missed most of year 11 but, thankfully, she has started college and is doing well. As a teacher, I recognise that there is definitely work to be done with children in schools.
"I worked at a small school, but can think of a number of children who would have benefitted from support with their mental health.
"As teachers, we would benefit from support and guidance on how to identify valid childhood worries, while promoting resilience in young people.”
We need your help
Our Make it Count campaign exists because we want to give people like Jodi's son and Anne-Marie's daughter the tools better understand, protect and sustain their mental health, so that they have the best opportunity to thrive. We can't do this without your help. Please consider a donation today.