The topic of mental health and its effects on students is one of the most pressing issues currently faced in the classroom. In response to World Mental Health Day (10 October), Better Health is encouraging teachers to facilitate classroom discussions about mental wellbeing with their Every Mind Matters resources for 10-16 year olds. The resources can be found on the School Zone and are free to download.
The Every Mind Matters resources are NHS-approved and designed to support student mental wellbeing through a range of PSHE topics, featuring videos co-created by young people. The new activities encourage students to find self-care actions that work for them, and allow them to reflect on how they feel.
Analysis shows that some children and young people’s mental wellbeing has been substantially impacted due to the pandemic.1 Children with a probable mental disorder were twice as likely to have missed 15 or more days of school in Autumn term 2020 school (18.2%) as those unlikely to have a mental disorder (8.8%).2
Alongside the new self-care activities, the Every Mind Matters resources cover important topics such as Social media, Building connections, and Dealing with change that can be used to support wellbeing across the whole school and link to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education. Lessons are flexible, ready-to-use and co-created by teachers and young people to encourage students to take part in peer-to-peer discussions.
The Department for Education recently confirmed that eligible schools and colleges will be able to apply for a grant of £1,200 each, which can be used by senior leaders to gain the knowledge and skills they need to roll out an effective ‘whole school or college approach’ to mental health and wellbeing, embedding it into their culture and making it a priority alongside academic recovery.
As a way of bringing this to life in the classroom even further, Better Health is also giving educators the chance to win a wellness workshop for their school, hosted by Mind, the mental health charity. The session encourages students to think about their own personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of their school as a whole. The workshop uses a range of exciting and experiential activities to engage the group, in both mind and body wellness.
Children and Families Minister, Will Quince, said: “It’s absolutely vital that every child has access to the support they need and deserve, which is exactly why we’re prioritising children’s mental health alongside education recovery. These resources from Every Mind Matters will help support teachers to engage their students in important discussions around mental health and provide them with an additional set of resources to support their wellbeing.”
Louise Clarkson, Strategic Change Lead at Mind said: “We know that the past eighteen months has been an extremely challenging time for young people across the country, especially for those with pre-existing mental health problems. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, there was growing recognition of the scale of mental health challenges among students and increased demand for service. If a young person is experiencing a mental health issue, it’s vital that they know they’re not alone, and they deserve support. So it’s good to see that through a range of activities, Every Mind Matters is helping teachers find the right tools to help them facilitate healthy discussions in the classroom, which could empower students to find additional ways to improve their mental health, and ask for support if and when it is needed.”
The free resources from Better Health have been specifically designed to cater for all abilities and the activities are suitable for KS3 / KS4 including SEND students. Some of the resources are also suitable for KS2 pupils.
Whilst supporting students through mental health issues, it is important that teachers also look after their own mental wellness. The Every Mind Matters Mind Tool, available on the School Zone, provides additional support for teachers. By answering a short series of questions, the Mind Tool provides teachers with personalised, practical tips so they can find out what works for them.
Samantha Rosehill, an Assistant Head Teacher who worked on the project said; “The mental wellness of students is one of the biggest priorities in education right now. With so much confusion, stigma and apprehension surrounding the topic, having these short and time-efficient resources is invaluable.”
Speaking of the flexibility the activities offer, Rosehill continued to say, “What’s so impressive is how adaptable they are for the different levels of ability and age groups teachers often face. The self-care based activities come with great guidance giving teachers the confidence to deliver a very important topic to their students. I can see them being well-received with teachers and pupils”
To enter the competition and access the inclusive new resources simply sign up to the School Zone by 30 November 2021. Like all teacher resources from Better Health access is completely free.