TG Escapes Blog

Why mental healthcare in school matters

by Mark Brown | May 8, 2017 | Blog, Education

The Mental Health Foundation has hosted Mental Health Awareness Week in the second week of May since 2000, and so the 8th to 14th May marked 2017’s event. The stated aim this year was to look at mental health from a new angle. Rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, it will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health. Whatever the findings may be, they are likely to be rooted in childhood in a great many cases, as these grim statistics demonstrate.

  • Almost 1 in 4 children and young people show some evidence of mental ill health. 1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder.
  • Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24.
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5-19 years, and the second most common for girls of this age.
  • 1 in 3 adult mental health conditions relate directly to adverse childhood experiences.
  • 3 in 4 children with a diagnosable mental health condition do not get access to the support that they need.

Most of these statistics were extracted from the most recent comprehensive survey data available on young people’s mental health, which was conducted in 2004. Throughout the last 13 years, there has been some research into certain elements of children and young people’s mental health and service provision, but there has not been a major survey during this period. A new national survey is currently being conducted by the Office for National Statistics but the findings will not be ready for publication until 2018. The grim reality is that things are likely to look a lot bleaker.

The world has changed a lot since 2004 when Facebook had just launched; the iPhone was still 3 years from its invasion into our lives and the first tweet or snapchat was yet to be posted. ONS research into children’s mental health and well-being found that 1 in 8 children aged 10 to 15 reported symptoms of mental ill-health in 2011 to 2012. Looking at data from a Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire, which screens the behaviour of children aged two to 17, it also found children who spent over 3 hours on social websites on a normal school night were more than twice as likely to show symptoms of mental ill-health.

We at TG Escapes are passionate about the state of children’s mental well-being which is at the heart of our classroom design. We fully believe in the power of natural light and the amazing restorative impact of a greater connection with the natural world. For more information about why we are so committed to our ethos, you might like to have a look at our whitepapers The Outdoor Environment and The Outdoor Environment in Secondary School. And have a think about the positive effect that a touch of nature can have upon the mental health of all students and staff alike.

Cassiobury Court have put together a really helpful guide to mental health resources: A Guide to UK based Free Mental Health Helplines.

About the author

Mark Brown
Consultant at TG Escapes - Mark has spent time growing up with the army, studying computing before the internet existed, and founding The London Classic Theatre Company, self sustaining for over 25 years. He trained in marketing with Unilever before moving into advertising as a strategist with Leo Burnett, Creative Director at Starcom and founder of award winning creative agency Weapon7. He has a passion for eco buildings and helps run the social enterprise Street Wisdom, providing free creative walkshops around the world.

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