Teach mental health in primary schools

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The Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group has suggested that mental health should be placed on the national curriculum for primary school children.

The NHS-affiliated advisory group said that if problems were to be prevented or dealt with effectively later, it was essential to address the issue early.

Around one in 10 children and young people in the UK have a mental health disorder. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health puts the figure at 850,000 and says 75% of these do not get the help they need, often because of a lack of awareness in those around them. Studies suggest there is a strong correlation between childhood and adolescent mental health difficulties, and problems in adulthood.

Susannah Page, a member of the group, said: “The first step in dealing with mental health is by tackling the stigma, and the way to do that is, while people are still young and learning, to talk to them about what mental health is and how you can get good mental health. It should definitely be part of the national curriculum, in common with sex education.

“To get access to many young people, the best way to that is through schools. The best time is the transition between primary and secondary school because that is the age people may start experiencing mental health problems.”

Every Child Journal
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