At Pearson, we’re on a mission to work together with teachers, senior leaders, parents and carers to build healthy and happy schools. Together, we can encourage conversation and create environments that foster positive wellbeing for pupils as well as staff.
According to NHS figures released in December 2018, one in eight young people in England under the age of 19 have had at least one mental health disorder. With increased pressure on young people from social media, exams and societal expectations, among other factors: stress, anxiety, panic attacks, self-harm and depression are being reported more and more within schools.
But it’s not limited to our young people. Figures from the 2018 Teacher Wellbeing Index revealed that 67% of education professionals are stressed, and 57% are considering leaving teaching due to health concerns. Meanwhile, research from the Education Support Partnership (ESP) charity, found that a third of teachers suffer from mental health problems, with more than half suffering from insomnia.
It’s clear that mental health and wellbeing provision for students and staff within schools is paramount. In the Department for Education’s advice on mental health and behaviour in schools, they state that:
Schools have a central role to play in enabling their pupils to be resilient and to support good mental health and wellbeing for all pupils... a school’s approach to mental health and behaviour should be part of a consistent whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Schools are also being judged, as of September 2019, on keeping students mentally healthy, nurturing pupil resilience and managing pressure on staff, as part of the new Ofsted Inspection Framework.
We need to talk about mental health and wellbeing
Within our own organisation, we’ve been working with Time to Change to break down the stigma around mental health and wellbeing, and change the culture and conversation. As part of this, we made a Time for Change pledge and developed an action plan which has resulted in over 50 Mental Health First Aiders being trained within our UK organisation, mindfulness courses being run both face to face and online for colleagues, and lots more. Hear more from our Senior Vice President, Sharon Hague:
As part of our continued commitment we are:
- Providing schools, staff and learners throughout the country with expert advice, information and resources on mental health and wellbeing. This includes tips for wellbeing and mindfulness around revision time, with lots more to come.
- Working to reduce learning anxiety and build resilience for students - take a look at our free Guide to Tackling Maths Anxiety developed in partnership with leading experts across education, academia, business and the third sector.
- Leading a range of introductory mindfulness sessions and panel conversations at school conferences and events to get everybody speaking about wellbeing in schools.
- Partnering with well-known experts, charities and organisations in the mental health sector including the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Evidence Based Practice Unit and the Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC).
To mark World Mental Health Day today, Thursday 10th October, we’re also donning yellow across our offices in support of the #HelloYellow initiative run by Young Minds UK to show young people they’re not alone with their mental health.
We are committed to reducing the shame that is too often associated with mental health and ensuring that everyone - from our own staff members to those in the schools we work with - feel supported and comfortable talking about mental health issues in the same way they would a physical Illness. There’s always more to do, and we welcome the opportunity to work with schools and organisations across the sector as we continue to take positive steps forward.
Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President at Pearson