Today is a very important awareness day, World Mental Health Day, which takes place on the 10 October every year. It is run by the Mental Health Foundation and this year’s theme is to ‘make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’.
It is vital that we all look after our own mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting others with theirs. There has been a global mental health crisis since the Covid-19 pandemic, with people of all ages becoming increasingly anxious and stressed. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there was a 25% rise in anxiety and depressive disorders during the first year of the pandemic. They also stated that there has been a severe disruption in mental health services. The need to nurture our wellbeing and prevent the escalation of more complex mental health problems has never been more apparent.
Here at nurtureuk, we are dedicated to improving the social, emotional, mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Numerous research reports, including papers in the International Journal of Nurture in Education, have provided evidence of the positive impact that nurture principles and practices have on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Embedding the Six Principles of Nurture within a school environment and developing an inclusive whole-class approach enables teachers to support all their pupils by removing individual barriers to learning. This can help to make pupils feel safe at school and to be able to get on with other pupils, as well as boosting their mental health and wellbeing by developing their confidence and resilience.
There are many ways to support children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing in the classroom. Some of these strategies include:
- Making time for social-emotional learning, either during targeted PSHE lessons or by embedding it throughout the curriculum.
- Giving pupils the opportunity to practice their social and emotional skills – for example by encouraging them to work in pairs and groups.
- Teachers modelling good social and emotional skills themselves, when interacting with pupils and other staff members.
- Monitoring the social-emotional wellbeing of the whole class, using assessment tools like The Boxall Profile®.
Implementing a whole-school approach to nurture is the best way to support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils and staff in a school. Our National Nurturing Schools Programme supports schools to identify children and young people who need additional, more focused support through nurturing interventions, or as part of a nurture group. Teachers can help pupils to develop the social skills they need to thrive and ensure that their needs are met. It’s vital that schools are committed to supporting all their children and young people to achieve their very best and to make their mental health and wellbeing a main priority.
This World Mental Health Day we can all play a part in helping to increase the awareness of mental health and how crucial it is to manage our own mental health and to support others with theirs. Mental health and wellbeing needs to be prioritised all around the world for people of all ages. The rise in mental disorders is a global concern, and it is only together that we can put the right support and interventions in place to help ourselves and others.