The mental health charity Young Minds tell us that there are an average of 3 young people in every classroom that have a diagnosable mental health difficulty and levels of stress and anxiety amongst young people are rising to unprecedented levels.
Providing support for our young people and addressing these difficulties is crucial and urgent, especially as research has suggested that 50% of long term adult mental health problems are established by the time you are aged 14 and 75% by the time you are 24. The future well being of our country depends on us acting now.
But we can’t expect to deal with the mental health needs of our young people if we ignore those on the frontline of supporting them. Increasingly these people are teachers and other education support staff.
Schools have been given a seemingly ever increasing mandate to deal with the current crisis at the same time as managing a real term cuts to funding (despite what the government protest, there are significant cuts!). The sums don’t add up. Well supported, resilient and resourced adults are the best people to support our most vulnerable young people, not burnt out, exhausted and over stretched adults.
Healthy young people and children need healthy adults supporting them. The adults who know those young people well; their strengths and their struggles, the adults who spend their evenings planning and marking work for those young people, the adults who went into working in school because they believed they could make a difference. And those are the adults who are leaving education in their droves because they’ve had enough.
We at Space to Breathe are committed to investing into those adults to help them become resilient and resourced in their work. We’re motivated by the incredible example so many teachers give to us with their incredible work and commitment to those they teach. We don’t think it’s right that those giving so much should pay such a price with their own health.
School:Space is all about our commitment to wellbeing in local schools. We empower individuals to take control of their own well being by increasing their connectedness with themselves, others and ‘Other’. Connected individuals provide the best kind of support possible and have the ability to slowly turn the tide of mental health in our time. If we want to avoid a future crisis, we need to invest now.