While many children and young people head back to school, college or university for the new term, figures released show that, three quarters of young people (77%) with mental health problems have missed out on education.

The survey, by mental health anti-stigma programme Time to Change, also shows that for one in four students (24%) the reason they did not go into school, college or university was because they were worried what other people would say and 15% of people experienced bullying as a result of mental health problems.

The survey also revealed that missing education as a result of mental health problems went on to impact people later in life:

  • 80% of people lost their confidence
  • 54% said it had an impact on their education
  • 26% of people said it had an impact on job prospects

In an MP’s report published recently, there are a number of recommendations as to how to better support pupils’ wellbeing:

 

  1. Funding

    It is recognised that it is a false economy to cut services for children and young people and the report strongly urged the next government to review the effect of budget reductions on the in-school provision of services to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing”

  2. Exam Pressure

    The report stated that achieving a balance between promoting academic attainment and wellbeing should not be regarded as a zero-sum activity. Greater wellbeing can equip pupils to achieve academically. If the pressure to promote academic excellence is detrimentally affecting pupils, it becomes self-defeating.

  3. Inspections

    Ofsted now includes pupils’ wellbeing among its inspection criteria. However, the MPs felt that insufficient priority was being given to wellbeing by inspectors. The report stated that as a priority, the chief inspector should consider ways in which the inspection regime gives sufficient prominence to wellbeing.”

  4. Teacher Training

    As teachers cannot be expected to replace mental-health professionals, the report called on the government to include mental-health training as part of the initial teacher-training course. Serving teachers should receive similar training, as part of their continuing professional development.