One of the hottest topics in education at present is that of mental health. With statistics suggesting that one in four adults experience anxiety or depression at some point in their lives and the problem continuing to expand amongst young people, schools in Northern Ireland have joined a new initiative to take a stand.
Initiated by charity Action Mental Health, the project part-funded by the Dankse Bank will benefit almost 1,500 pupils to begin with. Known as ‘Healthy Me’ and aimed at Key Stage 2 pupils, teaching staff raised £50,000 with a further £20,000 pumped into the project by the bank. It is now hoped that extra funding can support a further 1,450 pupils and 450 teachers.
Aisling Press, Head of branch banking at Danske told the Irish News: “We believe we can help address the issue for future generations by supporting and investing in the mental health of our children and young people. That’s why supporting Action Mental Health is so important to us. ‘Healthy Me’ is a fantastic initiative that has a strong focus on prevention.”
The news comes in a week where the Scottish Association for Mental Health released results of a survey that suggested 66% of teachers felt ill-equipped to deal with mental health problems and only 12% believed they had received adequate training. Only 33% of the 3,000 teachers involved with the survey suggested their school had adequate measures in place to deal with concerns.
Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt responded to the news by stating: “Every child and young person should have access to emotional and mental wellbeing support in school.”
Just last week, members of the Evolve management team recorded their ambitions for health and wellbeing to become a recognised subject in schools to provide adequate support to young people.
Evolve Health Mentors are currently working in a variety of educational setting across the country to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of children with their preventative Project HE:RO strategy.