Tips to support children’s mental health in schools

Tips to support children’s mental health in schools

Did you know 1 in 6 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem, and many continue to have these problems into adulthood?

According to children’s mental health charity Place2be:

  • 50% of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14 
  • 1 in 10 boys aged 5-19 with a mental health condition are excluded in some form from school

Factors that can put a child more at risk of developing a mental health problem can often be identified from an early age, and if a child who is at risk isn’t given early support, they may go on to develop a mental health problem.

As children spend so much of their time in schools, teachers, and support sta­ff are in a prime position to help children build strong mental health and wellbeing - and also spot if something is wrong. Therefore, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of mental health, how to spot the signs of issues arising and how to deal with it.

In honour of Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week, TLTP Education is sharing helpful tips for teachers and support staff to encourage mental well-being in schools and some of the top mental health courses available to take now.

The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is Growing Together.

Growing Together is about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other grow. Challenges and setbacks can help us to grow and adapt and trying new things can help us to move beyond our comfort zone into a new realm of possibility and potential. However, emotional growth is often a gradual process that happens over time, and sometimes we might feel a bit ‘stuck’.

Tips to Help Children’s Mental Well-Being

1. Talk

Children and teacher talking
Encouraging children to talk about their emotions in an honest and open way will allow you to spot changes in their behaviour. Regularly ask how they're doing so they get used to talking about their feelings and know there's always someone to listen if they want it.

Emotion flashcards are an excellent teaching aid for different emotions, especially for younger children. The use of pictures, showing facial expressions associated to various emotions can make it easier for children to recognise when they are experiencing these feelings/emotions.

2. Lunchtime clubs

children lunchtime club
Give students the opportunity to take their mind off things at lunch by running lunchtime clubs. These clubs could be for any activity – arts and crafts, baking, drama clubs, book clubs, film clubs, etc. The sense of community will help students feel included and will relieve the pressure of work for a while.

3. Put well-being at the heart of schools

mental health heart
Promote the importance of mental health and place it at the heart of schools. Unfortunately, it can still be seen as a taboo subject, and some children may feel embarrassed to talk about it. If you incorporate well-being into daily school life such as PSHE lessons, assemblies, and celebrate awareness days, like children’s mental health week, it will let children know they’re not alone and lift their spirits.

You could also invite charities, such as Mind and Rethink, into school to give talks about their work and address the topic of mental health.

4. Keep active

children outdoor play
Keeping children active is important both for physical and mental health. A child who has exercised will not only have released those endorphins to help them feel good but also will be tired and will have a better night’s sleep.

5. Give them a means to express

children post it note express
Give children an avenue to express their anger and anxiety. Encourage art, notes on sticky paper, and the use of feeling thermometers are helpful. The aim is to get feeling out, not keep them inside festering away.

And finally look after your own mental health.

teacher mental health
Before you begin to look after others, it’s important you look after your own mental health first.

When we have good levels of wellbeing, we feel that life is in balance and that we can cope. We feel motivated and engaged, we’re resilient and able to deal with daily troubles, as well as bounce back from life’s challenges.

As school staff, you’re likely to be juggling a multitude of different tasks and demands. It’s important that you’re given the right emotional and practical support so that you can, in turn, best support your pupils. Good staff‑ wellbeing can also improve performance and job satisfaction. Here are some quick ways you can do that https://www.tltp.co.uk/blog/blog/5-ways-to-cope-with-depression-anxiety-as-a-teacher

 

Mental Health for Schools - 5 courses for only £35!

https://cpdonline.co.uk/partnerships/tltp-education-mental-health-for-schools-bundle/614

Courses include:

1. Children’s Mental Health
2. Mental Health in Schools
3. Child Neglect Awareness
4. Understanding Bullying
5. Internet Safety in Schools

This course is CPD certified and it's perfect for people working in a school or any education setting, this course bundle covers mental health awareness, child neglect, internet safety and bullying. 

 

Resources

Below are some helpful links to resources for tips, guidance, and advice on Mental Health.

Children’s Mental Health Week - https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/

NHS Every Mind Matters - https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/supporting-others/childrens-mental-health/

Mentally Health Schools - https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/

The Education Hub - https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2021/09/03/mental-health-resources-for-children-parents-carers-and-school-staff/