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The Importance of a Thorough Mental Health Policy in Schools
Article by Ellie Collier, High Speed Training
It is truly shocking that three-in-four mental health issues start in childhood. It can affect an individual’s emotional wellbeing and their educational attainment if they are struggling to cope. As exam season commences, it is fundamental that those within education take extra precautions to ensure students feel capable of thriving during this defining time of their lives.
The exam period can be a catalyst for mental health problems and a school should, ideally, have an effective mental health policy already implemented prior to the end of the academic year. It is a stressful time for pupils and schools have a responsibility to make sure their students are able to cope with the pressure.
The main aim of a mental health policy is to demonstrate to both students and parents that the wellbeing of individuals, including students, staff and parents, is a top priority. Additionally, it should highlight the school’s ongoing commitment to understanding the severity of mental health issues within education and ensure that teachers feel equipped to encourage students to come forward and discuss any difficulties they might be facing. It’s important that the policy showcases the school’s commitment to supporting any individuals that may be struggling – whether at school or home - all year round.
It is essential that a school mental health policy is thorough, insightful and accessible to all. Included should be procedures that will support individuals suffering with mental health issues, and procedures that stress the importance of positive mental wellbeing and resilience. The policy should be written in clear, direct language and follow a logical structure. It is also imperative that school-specific details are included in the policy – including relevant staff names and any bespoke policies and procedures - so that the information is tailored to the school.
The school’s approach to creating a mental health policy should be an extensive and thoughtful process. The stigma around mental health is starting to shift, and it’s important that schools continue to support pupils beyond their academic development. High Speed Training, which provides professional safeguarding training courses for the education sector, has created a template to help schools create their own mental health policy.
For more information, visit www.highspeedtraining.co.uk.