Last week’s Youth Index 2014 Report by The Princes’ Trust revealed the extent of mental health problems faced by young people, particularly those who are unemployed. An equally troubling report was published by ChildLine this morning, highlighting poor mental health, self-harm and suicidal thoughts among children.
The Princes' Trust's survey of 16 to 25 year olds demonstrates the negative effect of youth unemployment on young people’s mental health. The survey worryingly states that 40 per cent of jobless young people have faced symptoms of mental illness. Additionally, young people's confidence, in relation to their physical health and money, is at its lowest rate since the Youth Index surveys began in 2009.
Today's ChildLine report, on under-18s, powerfully describes the ‘deep unhappiness’ that many children and young people face as a result of bullying and poor mental health, with the report citing depression and unhappiness as the main reasons why children contact ChildLine for support.
As these reports show, mental illness is an important and complex issue affecting children and young people today. A comprehensive PSHE education programme, as part of a whole-school approach, can provide an important opportunity for schools to address these difficult issues. In our 2013 annual members survey, 'mental health' was the top concern amongst PSHE teachers across the country. In order to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the classroom, it is vital that teachers receive adequate training and the high-quality resources they need.
Mental health is a major concern for the PSHE Association and as a result, addressing mental health and wellbeing through PSHE education will be a key focus of our 2014 Annual Conference on 26th June. We will have more details of this conference very shortly, please email us in the meantime with any questions or to register your interest. You could also consult the advice we produced last year on responding to mental health disclosures from pupils.
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