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Corporate responsibility
10 October 2018

World Mental Health Day: young people and mental health in a changing world

This year the theme for World Mental Health Day is young people and mental health in a changing world. The World Health Organisation want to bring attention to the issues our youth and young adults are facing in our world today and begin the conversation around what they need in order to grow up healthy, happy and resilient.

Entrust is one of our business areas which recognises the importance of our young people’s wellbeing and this World Mental Health Day, we wanted to highlight some of the great work they have being doing in this area.

Mental health and wellbeing are increasing areas of concern for children and young people.

Pressures at school, use of social media, as well as fears for the future, are just some of the factors that have a negative impact on the mental health of young people. Entrust, Capita’s joint venture with Staffordshire County Council, has always worked with schools to promote positive health and wellbeing, but recently mental health support has been identified by schools as an area of focus and need.

Helping schools to promote positive mental health

Entrust, recognise that all schools are different, so have developed a range of initiatives to meet a variety of demands including training courses and in school support.

‘Mental Health Matters’ is one of Entrust’s flagship training days offered to schools in England. The training sessions came about in response to school requests for support in this area and have been carefully planned to draw on expertise in the field. During these sessions, topics have been covered to consider how schools can focus on promoting positive mental health for their students. As well as specific issues they may need to be aware of for individuals or groups.

Expert speakers from Entrust and our partner organisations have spoken to share their expertise and experience. At our very first event Katie Thistleton, a presenter on CBBC, talked about the research she had conducted in schools – discovering how young people are feeling and determining what worries them.

Through her talk and the experiences of our delegates it is clear that the worries of young people cover a wide range of topics, that affect all ages including very young children.

It’s ok to not be ok… and it’s ok to talk about it too

We also offer support delivered directly into schools. Through our carefully created mental health support package, we have delivered sessions directly to children and young people in school.  A primary school had planned a mental health week and asked us to deliver sessions with children focusing on their strengths, types of feelings and who they can talk to when they have problems.

To encourage the conversation for students at home, we then delivered a follow up assembly and a session for staff and parents.

Having a whole school approach to promoting positive mental health is essential. What is communicated to the students, is also communicated to staff and parents – ensuring that children have a wide network of positive support.

By getting the mental health conversation started at a young age, children are less likely to experience stigma around the topic and will be able to talk about mental health more openly in the future.

The future of young people and mental health

In July 2018, the British Government announced that from September 2020, primary schools will have to teach relationships education and secondary schools to teach relationships and sex education, with all schools having to teach health education. 

Mental health forms part of the health education guidance but there are many links into the relationship’s education - as positive relationships are a key factor in maintaining good mental health. Entrust is preparing to support schools with this, including developing a new award programme. We are also developing links with other experts in the field to be able to offer schools a comprehensive programme to support their needs.

The overall aim of Entrust is to “Inspire Futures” and positive mental health is a key part of this, children and young people will only achieve their full potential if they are physically and mentally healthy. As a proactive organisation we are constantly reviewing and improving our offer to meet the needs of education settings, we look forward to supporting schools with the new statutory requirements and wider developments in the vital and everchanging area of mental health.

Sarah Huggins

Senior specialist consultant inclusion and wellbeing, Entrust

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