Since starting this petition, we have received support from politicians across the political spectrum and it has reached over 200,000 signatures. Mental Health Education has since launched for schools across England and Wales in September 2020.
When working to reduce stigma, I am continually concerned how a lack of education around mental health is contributing factor. This is something regularly raised as a mutual concern by guests on my mental health podcast plus several of them are actively working to fill this need by doing talks and workshops in schools. With one in four of us experiencing mental illness every year according to the charity Mind, this seems to be a real and very significant gap in our education system.
- One in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years has been diagnosed with/shows signs of a mental health problem, and many continue to have these problems into adulthood. (1)
- Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of 14 years, and 75% of this has developed by the age of 18. (2)
- NHS England estimates that poor mental health costs the NHS and society £105 billion a year in England alone. (3)
The statistics are shocking, yet whilst there is a whole subject in the curriculum around our physical health in the form of PE, our young people are left without any knowledge of even the most common mental illnesses.
Not only does this leave them unprepared and vulnerable when it comes to looking out for their own mental health, but also sets the standard that Mental Health is not discussed. This plants a seed of stigma that many carry for their whole lives.
Upon further research, there generally seems very little in the way of guidelines currently. For example, if Romeo and Juliet is studied as part of the curriculum when the two title characters kill themselves, this is considered the end of the story or worse romanticised as an ideal form of love. The very serious topic of suicide is frequently not even mentioned as part of schooling, and yet according to the BBC, suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 49.
It’s time to make a change. Even if a law was passed so every child receives one class about mental health during their time at school, this would be more than the vast majority currently get. We are keen to hear back from those in power on a more extensive plan to better the lives of our nation’s young people.
- Mental Health education becoming mandatory teaching for all schools in the UK without the addition of any exams or homework on this subject.
- Every child having the ability to access a qualified counsellor through their school. This is something that many workplaces already offer.
- Every school offering Mental Health training for its staff.
Please join our petition to help bring us one step closer to making these requests a reality, thus helping safeguard the health of generations to come.
Thank you for reading, Bobby Temps
Host of ‘Mental - The Podcast to Destigmatise Mental Health’.
Further reading and resources
1. Politicians, charities & influencers endorsing this campaign - VIEW
2. Young Minds Charity - Wise Up To Wellbeing in Schools Campaign - VIEW
3. Further statistics from Headucationuk who also campaign on this - VIEW
4. PSHE Association - Teacher Guidance: Preparing To Teach About Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing - VIEW
5. Top tips for teachers to support mental health VIEW
Campaign Description Sources
1. Source: Green h, McGinnity A, Meltzer h et al. (2005) Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan - 2. Source: Murphy M and Fonagy P (2012). Mental health problems in children and young people. In: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012. London: Department of Health - 3. Source: NSPCC. How safe are our children? 2016