Mental health foundation releases new downloadable school packs to mark youth mental health day

Mental health foundation releases new downloadable school packs to mark youth mental health day

Youth Mental Health Day takes place on 7 September and aims to encourage young people, and those who support them, to understand their mental health and how to protect it. To mark the Day, the Mental Health Foundation is launching new, free material for school pupils and teachers, developed by our Peer Education Project (PEP) team.

The PEP is a secondary-school based programme that supports school staff to train older pupils to teach younger pupils a mental health curriculum. It supports pupils to develop coping strategies to safeguard their mental health, and recognise when to ask for help, for themselves and their peers.

The new material focusses on learning to have a good body image, why being kind is so important, and how we can all manage our sleep better. In addition, the Foundation has, in collaboration with Reflect and Refocus, produced a guide about ways to rest for staff as well as issuing guidance about returning to school.

Ruth Simmonds, PEP Project Manager at the Mental Health Foundation, said:

“The Mental Health Foundation is passionate about giving children and young people, as well as those around them, the skills and knowledge to protect and maintain their own mental health and support others to do the same.  As schools reopen for the new academic year, we’re bringing the spotlight back on the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, and those supporting them within education.

“This has been a very challenging year for children and young people. The pandemic and its consequences have affected almost all areas of personal, educational, and social life for children and young people – especially those experiencing major life transitions, like moving from primary to secondary school or on to university and work.

“Schools have huge potential for preventing mental health problems and so we are pleased to be helping them with this new, free material. PEP is an opportunity for schools to put mental health awareness and support as a priority from day 1, and its online platform provides all the resources required to introduce the project into the school curriculum.  You can register now at pep.mentalhealth.org.uk”.

Research on the pandemic shows that children and young people have consistently shown reduced levels of good mental health and wellbeing, with:

  • The number with a diagnosable mental health condition rising from 1 in 8 in 2018, to 1 in 6[1].
  • At least one third experiencing an increase in mental health and wellbeing issues[2].
  • 66% reporting that they feel alone ‘some of the time’ or ‘often’, according to a study of British 13- to 19-year-olds by the Mental Health Foundation and academic partners.
  • 45% saying that life in the UK will be worse for their future, as a result of the pandemic, according to the same study of British 13- to 19-year-olds by the Mental Health Foundation and academic partners.

The  study of mental health in the pandemic makes it clear that older teenagers and younger adults are among the groups who have suffered most. Their education, social lives and careers were massively disrupted by lockdown restrictions – and many are still finding their studies and work damaged by the pandemic, as well as their hopes for the future. Friendships are especially important to young people and so not being allowed to socialise has been particularly hard on them, in a way that has affected their mental health. Over the year since lockdown started, the study found that they were much more likely than older adults to feel lonely, anxious, hopeless and suicidal. What will help them recover includes confidence that they will be able to get high-quality education, training or employment, along with basic needs such as enough food, decent housing and money for essentials.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,349 teenagers aged 13-19 years. Fieldwork was done between 24th May - 15th June 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB teenagers aged 13-19 years).

[1]  NHS Digital (2020). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England. NHS. [Accessed on 23/06/21].

[1]  Barnardo’s. (2020). Coping with Grief, Bereavement and Loss. Barnardo’s. [Accessed on 23/06/21].

The Mental Health Foundation is a charity dedicated to finding and addressing the sources of mental health problems.  Its mission is for a world with good mental health for all. Visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk

The Mental Health Foundation has partnered with Ruth Hughes, Founder of Reflect and Refocus and a Health and Wellbeing Complementary Therapist at Rest for Life, to produce the Rethinking Rest Guide for education staff.

For further information contact Fran Edwards at the Mental Health Foundation press office on 07786 437249 or at [email protected]