The theme of this year’s world mental health day is ‘mental health in an unequal world.’

11th October 2021

Stigma and discrimination towards those with mental health difficulties is one of the main reasons for these inequalities.

This world Mental health day, let’s have more open discussions about our mental wellbeing and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

Many children and young people in schools have been experiencing high levels of anxiety, low mood and stress as a result of transitioning back to school post Covid. This has impacted children’s interpersonal skills, friendships, relationships and ability to cope with school demands and pressures.

In 2020, 1 in 6 young people had a mental health problem compared with 1 in 10 in 2017 (NHS digital 2020.) Self harm and eating disorder presentations have also increased since the lockdown. The theme of these difficulties is that young people attempt to cope with difficult and painful emotions by trying to exercise some control over their internal emotions and release tension through disordered eating or cutting themselves.

For this reason, now more than ever is an important time to have conversations with children and young people as most tend to internalise their worries or externalise difficulties by acting out. Children and young people need a safe space to feel heard and contained. Counselling and therapy is useful for lots of children but some students prefer group programmes. The Family Wellness Practice offer student counselling, wellbeing ambassador programmes and workshops for staff, students and parents on wellbeing, building resilience and managing anxiety during this difficult time.

We need to support each other to value mental health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities. As mental health problems are presenting more frequently and with more complexity in schools, we are finding that staff are reaching out for direct mental health expert support and advice through staff supervision.

For more information on how the Family Wellness Practice can support your school in promoting a whole school approach to wellbeing, please contact us.

By Dr Kiran Nijabat, Consultant in Child and Adolescent mental health and Director of the Family Wellness Practice