Supporting children and young people in their mental health
A guide for East Sussex schools: a resilience-based, whole school approach to promoting positive mental health and addressing individual needs
The purpose of this guide is to encourage and build on what good schools already do in terms of differentiation and adapting approaches to include all children and help to maximise their academic and emotional development. Good schools address barriers to academic outcomes, and this guide is designed to support schools in addressing emotional behavioural and emerging mental health problems which can be barriers to attainment. Taking a whole school approach to emotional and mental wellbeing and using some of the simple low cost suggestions for classroom teachers in this guide can support children and young people’s sense of belonging to a school and encourage attendance, good development and improve learning outcomes.
Section 1: Outlines the role of the school in supporting children and young people, what national guidance and Ofsted expect from schools in this area, and has been produced in line with local ESCC guidance for schools.
Section 2: Introduces the concept of resilience as a way of approaching positive mental health and the evidence based Resilience Framework. It also focuses in on what schools can do to promote resilience using a whole school approach, what ‘good’ looks like, and how this can be achieved.
Section 3: provides practical information on how teachers and school staff can support individual children and young people experiencing the most common mental health issues:
- Anxiety difficulties
- Eating difficulties
- Attention difficulties
- Conduct Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Attachment difficulties
For each mental health issue there are some tips for simple and effective interactions with children and young people as well as some ideas for including parents. These tips are designed to be easy to use and can be printed out and pinned to classroom and staff room walls.
Section 3 also includes recommended further reading at the end of each part. The further reading has been chosen from websites and books that Boingboing have used to support our work and that have been highly recommended by parents and professionals.
Section 4: Focuses on the value of including children and young people in helping to create positive prevention activities, identifying gaps and creating solutions, and some suggests practical ways in which this can be achieved.
Section 5: Contains appendices that provide more detailed reading as well as a sample lesson plan.
The entire guidance document is available to download from the link at the bottom of this page.
Individual sections and guidance on the most common mental health issues are available to download at the bottom of each page. You can also download the full guide: Supporting children and young people in their mental health: A guide for East Sussex schools [Adobe PDF, 797KB] or read online below:
Schools’ statutory responsibilities relating to social emotional mental health and wellbeing
Provision and processes relating to children and young people with Social Emotional and Mentalhealth difficulties (SEMH) are defined in the SEND Code of Practice Jan 2015 (the Code). The Code includes comprehensive requirements for all children and young people with SEND including those with SEMH difficulties.
Next, Understanding resilience
Resilience is not a personality trait. Innate characteristics play a part, but resilience is something that can be promoted and developed, through the provision of support and opportunities for growth.read more
This section includes a description of common mental health issues, how to help children and young people experiencing some challenges associated with them and an indication of signs or symptoms.read more
Anxiety is a natural, normal feeling we all experience from time to time. It can vary in severity from mild uneasiness to a terrifying panic attack. It can vary in how long it lasts, from a few moments to many years.read more
Depression is common yet serious, and can be recurrent. In England it affects at least 5% of teenagers, although some estimates are higher. It interferes with the ability to study, work and have satisfying relationships.read more
Anyone can develop an eating difficulty or be diagnosed with an eating disorder regardless of their age, gender or cultural background, including children and young people of any weight or size.read more
Self-harm, or self-injury, is the act of somebody deliberately harming themselves. There are many different ways in which someone can self-harm, including cutting, burning and hitting themselves.read more
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition, thought to be caused by differences in the way the brain develops, that affects the parts controlling attention, concentration, impulsivity, activity levels and memory.read more
A child who shows persistent disruptive, deceptive and aggressive behaviours over time, especially when these are of a marked degree, may be assessed as having Conduct Disorder.read more
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may be diagnosed after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, or learns that a traumatic event has happened to a loved one.read more
Children are born with a range of innate behaviours to maximise their survival, including attachment behaviours, which allow them to draw their primary caregivers to them at moments of need or distress.read more
This section is about utilising the Noble Truths to support work with children and young people on mental health issues. The Noble Truths are: Accepting, Commitment, Conserving and Enlisting.read more
Other considerations when supporting vulnerable children and young people – Schools mental health guide
It is important that children and young people clearly understand the limits of confidentiality from the outset, as this provides them with an informed choice regarding what they share within those limits.read more
It can be shocking and upsetting for parents to learn of their young person’s difficulties and many may respond with anger, fear, upset or denial during the first conversation.read more
Remember that it may be the school who is best placed to make, or support, a referral as the school may know the child and family’s social and mental health needs more than their GP.read more
A short list of books and online resources for young people that Boingboing have used to support our work and that have been highly recommended by parents and professionals.read more
Co-production is a way of working that utilises the experience, knowledge and skills of a range of stakeholders to design, produce and deliver better services and resources. It is a highly participative version of “engagement”.read more
The formal study of resilience can be traced back to the 1970s and it’s a controversial and developing concept. Resilience is hard to measure, can be slippery to pin down and thinking shifts as we learn more.read more