Mental Health and Young People
In England, 1 in 10 primary school children have some form of Mental Health problem.
What is Mental Health?
We all have mental health. Your mental health affects how you feel, think and act. It refers to your emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Your mental health can change on a daily basis and over time, and a wide range of factors can affect it.
- Social media and the internet can have both positive and negative effects on children and young people’s mental health.
- Body image-How children and young people think and feel about their body and the way they look can affect their mental health in both a positive and negative way.
- Reports of wars, famine, disasters and violent crime in the news can affect our mental health.
- The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has brought many new and unexpected challenges to children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
- Puberty is the normal physical process of transition from childhood to adulthood. As well as a time of multiple physical changes, puberty is also a time of significant emotional and social change. Puberty heralds a period of brain development only matched by that during infancy.
- Good sleep is fundamental to good mental health, just as good mental health is vital to good sleep. A good night’s sleep is about getting to sleep, staying asleep and getting enough good quality, deep sleep.
RSHE (Relationships, Sex, Health Education)
RSHE is a vital part of our curriculum at St Joseph’s school as we endeavour to understand ourselves on an interpersonal level, and the relationships that we form with others. Mental health is at the forefront of all of our RSHE lessons, where children are encouraged to talk about their feelings in a safe and conductive environment. Throughout their school life, children at St Joseph’s will explore their emotional well-being, personal relationships and how to keep safe in the wider world; all aspects that strengthen and support good mental health.
Children are encouraged to make the most of our RSHE section in the library, where they can find a wealth of wonderful books that can support their mental health.
How you can support your child’s mental wellbeing:
- Show them you love them-hug them (if they will let you!) or alternatively, give a high five or a special handshake for just the two of you.
- Take a genuine interest in the activities and things they love. If they love a certain sport or type of music, learn about their interest or even get them to teach you!
- Acknowledge their strengths and show them you notice when they do the right thing.
- Make time and space for your child and give them your full attention. A little bit of undivided attention and active listening every day is great. A car journey or walk where you are side-by side can be more fruitful than face-to-face questioning.
- Show them that everyone makes mistakes. This gives you the chance to model effective ways to deal with situations that can be difficult, such as saying sorry and explaining that you made a mistake. Explain what you will do to make sure it will not happen again. Your child will learn from you that it is OK to make mistakes and how to deal with them in a healthy way.
- Make sure your child has boundaries, knows what these are and what the consequences will be if they are crossed. It is not necessarily the severity of consequences that is important, but the fact that they know there are clear boundaries and you will follow through. This helps them to feel safe and secure.
- Encourage your child to talk about their emotions and mental health. This need not be an in-depth conversation. Simply start by sharing your day and how different events made you feel.
- Help your child set and achieve goals. Perhaps they would like to learn to dance or run a mile. You can help them do this and show them how to break their goal down into manageable sections. This is a helpful life skill and very good for wellbeing.
- Show children it is important to take care of your physical and mental health. Model good habits such as eating healthily and taking time to relax.
Finally, these videos from BBC’s Newsround explore some issues surrounding mental health and young people: