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Today is Suicide Prevention Day – and this year more than most, mental health has taken centre stage.

Safeguarding learners during lockdown has been a challenge – and now schools have reopened experts are predicting a surge in cases, which some teachers are finding overwhelming.

This blog post explains the challenges faced and the solutions available to safeguard students.

What has been the impact of the pandemic been on young people’s mental health?

It comes as the mental health charity, Mind, has warned that schools do not always have the ability to support young people:

The pandemic has already had a devastating impact on the lives of millions of children in England and Wales. It’s good that for many, a return to school may mark something of a return to normality.

But sadly schools aren’t always able to support young people with mental health problems. In fact, sometimes they can even be part of the problem. All young people with a mental health problem deserve the care they need, but even well-meaning schools can often be poorly equipped to support pupils experiencing problems with their mental health.

Natasha Devon MBE, LBC presenter, told The Canary:

Schools are doing the best they can, but with limited guidance, resources and support. Many communities lost educational psychologists, school counsellors, as well as huge chunks of mental health services and social services under austerity, meaning schools had to take the strain. Again, this is a problem which has been worsened by the pandemic.

A poll by Young Minds found that 78% of teachers feel that additional pastoral support was needed as children returned to school after lockdown.

For some children, the transition back to school will be hard, and it’s crucial that there is space for them to talk about how they’re feeling, and not simply a rush to catch up on the curriculum. It’s also important that the Government helps schools to promote and prioritise wellbeing, by introducing ring-fenced funding for mental health in schools, colleges and universities to enable them to provide mental health support to all young people who need it. 

Changes to mental health during lockdown

A survey suggests more than half of parents are concerned about their children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Findings from the Early Intervention Foundation found that parents are particularly worried about how their children will:

  • Adjust to changes in the school environment (61%)
  • Maintain focus and concentration on their school work (45%)
  • Reintegrate with other pupils, teachers and staff at school (42%)
  • Cope with worries about Covid-19 (41%)

What should schools do?

There is strong support among parents (71%) for schools to do more to support children’s health and wellbeing. Preferred types of support are:

  • Targeted help for those who may be struggling from a school counsellor or other specialist (56%)
  • More focus on health and wellbeing across the school (50%)
  • More time for lessons to support children’s health and wellbeing in the school timetable (46%)
  • Better communication with parents about their children’s wellbeing (45%)

How can EDClass help with student mental health?

The EDClass platform is here to support students.

A range of features support students with mental health issues, anxiety and depression. It helps safeguard learners with a range of facilities and provides a wide range of opportunities for students to reach out while learning.

The platform has a proven track record of engaging and motivating students in education, with more than 11,000+ lessons. A tailored learning pathway means lessons can be set to specific students.

Mental health lessons are also available for students.

Request a free demonstration here

Read more: top tips for parents and children

For more information call 01909 568 338.