Mental Health concerns for pupils have increased by 53% in one year!
I recently read an article in The Independent entitled ‘Head teachers say mental health issues among children are a growing problem in schools’
The article explains that these annual results, published by an organisation called The Key, a national information service for schools, showed a 53% increase (from 14% to 67%) in the number of head teachers seriously concerned about the mental well-being of their students. That’s a huge jump in one year!
Reading this information did not shock me, however it did get me a little ‘worked up’. You see as an NLP child therapist, specialising in anxiety, bullying and issues which negatively impact confidence, I work with schools, children and parents and I hear these comments a lot.
Even though I’ve had the pleasure of working with some brilliant and skilled schools there are so many more schools whose pupils would benefit from the support I provide, yet they are not buying in. Why?
The primary reason, it seems, is teachers and head teachers don’t have the time to look into and support additional learnings for their pupils because they are so busy meeting the targets set for the curriculum. It is all well and good making sure that our next generation can add, subtract and know their verbs from their adverbs but what if they are too lacking in confidence or too ridden with anxiety to do anything about it?
Targets are being set higher and higher, the number of exams children are expected to sit is increasing year on year and the age by which children start sitting exams is getting younger and younger. All of this is contributing to the levels of anxiety in our youngsters.
Earlier this year, I met with a 9 year old girl in my practice. She was preparing to take her SATS at the end of the year. This young girl was 6 months away from her SATS and she was already having sleepless nights, bed wetting and refusing to go to school. A place she had felt secure and happy for a number of years was now the cause of her nightmares. Her parents were distraught when I first met them. They were concerned that nothing could be done to help their daughter. We worked together for a few weeks (one of the advantages of NLP is that the processes allow you to reach your desired results quickly), and she went away a confident and happy child. I have since found out that this young lady’s SATS went really well, in fact her mum said
‘she really enjoyed sitting them and she passed on some of the tips you gave her to some of her more nervous friends’.
It’s fantastic that this young girl was able to pass on the techniques and help more children, can you imagine the positive implications if the school had felt able to include these kind of learnings earlier.
I work alongside a number of other NLP4Kids therapists, qualified and experienced in teaching and using NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) with children. We all advertise to schools as well as privately, yet we are only just scratching the surface on the number of schools who spend the time to take up our programmes for children. When over half the head teachers in this country are concerned about the mental health of their children and timely, cost effective and long lasting support is being offered, why is it not being given more consideration? Do we need to set targets in mental wellbeing and emotional intelligence for this to be taken more seriously?
Catherine Roche, chief executive of the children’s mental health charity Place2Be, said:
‘From our direct experience, there is no doubt that when pupils receive expert emotional support, they are better able to concentrate and achieve and overall disruption in the classroom is reduced, which benefits everyone.’
So, my appeal is to all head teachers concerned about the mental health of your pupils, take the time to investigate how I can help you and how these tools and techniques can provide significant, long term support to all your pupils. We can change these statistics! We all have a responsibility to help our children and young adults become the best version of themselves they can be.
If you, as parents want to work at home with your children to increase their confidence, then join us as the Confidence Builder Club, a great way to network with other parents and add new tools and techniques to your parenting tool kit.
For more information on how she can help you, your child or the pupils in your school contact: Debbie@confidencebuilderclub.com