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Mental Health/Wellbeing and Students

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by ktb_uk, May 24, 2018.

  1. ktb_uk

    ktb_uk New commenter

    Hello all,

    I was hoping to gain some insight from teachers and staff involved with secondary school-aged students regarding issues surrounding mental health.

    I remember when I was in school, bullying was probably the largest contributor to affecting one's mental health; but these days there are also hugely increased pressures from social media and whatnot on top.

    I would really appreciate any contribution/feedback about the topic and what your personal opinions regarding any solutions are. A few guiding questions:

    - What do you believe are the leading causes that affect student's mental health are? Do these differ between perhaps 11/12 year olds, and 15/16?
    - How well informed do you feel students are about mental health in general? Is there still a stigma about it?
    - Do you believe students would know what to do/where to go/who to speak to in the event they were concerned about their own/a friend's mental health?
    - How do you feel students can be best supported when addressing mental health?

    Thank you in advance for any thoughts.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I don't think it has anything like the same stigma it used to. Children seem happier to talk about it, and it's helpful that some well known celebrities have said that they have these issues too:

    Causes? Hm. Lack of support outside school. The fact that youth mental health services have been reduced to almost nothing.

    Increased pressure on students to achieve, whilst at the same time, decreased emphasis on lessons which inspire or engage them. Classic alienation. Teachers are also increasingly too busy to build a relationship with students which might help. A colleague of mine was actually told 'if you have ten minutes to talk to a student, you should be using that to do some more marking.' Pastoral care, my ****.

    We're much better at publicising where they can get help, but I'd be pushing it if I said I thought that help would them be available in a timely manner, or would achieve very much :-(

  3. SarahG2016

    SarahG2016 New commenter

    Our school has an ever increasing number of pupils with mental health issues. Having said that, the kids mainly come from difficult backgrounds which definitely contributes.

    Im not sure there is a huge difference between age groups as to the causes but obviously, the higher up they get, there is more pressure to perform at school, more exposure of social media and problems with parents and siblings.

    I think the kids understand mental health issues really well (and in some cases can use it to manipulate a situation), almost to the point they feel they should be able to have a claim to some condition. e.g Ive seen 'anxiety' used a lotwhen what they really mean is I don't want to do something.

    Im fairly confident they all know who they can speak to and that any member of staff has an obligation to report any concerns.

    The fact is, there are not enough resources to support all kids who have genuine need either within the school or in the community (certainly in our area) and often they are put on a waiting list for up to a year.

    The main problem (which I am very passionate about) is that schools dont appear to try to act pre emptively. Its all reactive. We need to help kids build and maintain their sense of self and their self esteem, teach them to manage failure positively and understand their emotions better. Its unlikely we can control the external factors (social media, bullying, exams, family) but we should be able to support their internal mechanisms.
  4. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Inadequate sleep is probably the leading cause of increasing mental health difficulties. The rise in difficulties is across the demographic, and sleep disruption is common to all. The symptoms of sleep deprivation (pulled casually from first website I found) are:

    • yawning
    • moodiness
    • fatigue
    • irritability
    • depressed mood
    • difficulty learning new concepts
    • forgetfulness
    • inability to concentrate or a "fuzzy" head
    • lack of motivation
    • clumsiness
    • increased appetite and carbohydratecravings
    We may as well have written a list of common complaints about teenagers!

    I think schools need to talk about sleep as much as they talk about alcohol, diet and drugs. Actually I think we should talk about sleep more, given that there are more deaths, diseases, road accidents etc attributed to sleep loss than anything else, but am willing to just get the topic started first!

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