Do you think that mental health education should be compulsory in our primary and secondary schools (if taught in an age appropriate way)?

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61 Replies

  • Secondary schools yes.

  • Both secondary schools and primary schools. The younger the better!

  • It will make so much difference for the better

  • Secondary yes.....

    Primary....big massive resounding NO.

  • I put unsure because at what level, how can someone educate about mental health problems unless the Professionals have not experienced it. Its like teaching a blind person how to see. I think more people should be made aware of what it is like to be on meds, that they themselves are mind altering. you might get more agitated, or on edge, or low in mood with the changes of meds. There is still so much prejudice STILL

  • I agree with that- think it should be compulsory but, as a teacher of 30 years vintage myself, I KNOW from personal experience (including that of my children) that very few teachers have any knowledge or understanding of Mental Illness, unless they or a family member has suffered. Consequently, those who deliver this subject matter MUST be well informed, and the content must NOT be simply superficial/generalised. Preferably, Trained Counsellors (or Trained volunteers, eg Samaritans etc) would be drafted in to deliver it and support the students who might encounter problems. Financially, doubtless, school managers will argue that this is not be feasible, but, in my considerable experience, superficial knowledge delivered by uncommitted staff is WORSE than nothing being offered at all! IT MUST BE MORE THAN A COSMETIC EXERCISE!!!

  • Secondary ,especially since our children in the uk have amongst the highest rate of depression in Europe.

  • Because I believe they are put under so much pressure, adults are too, time restraints, woman have to work as well as bring up kids, to survive, crime, threat of gangs, pregnancy, also being vulnerable to depression, ie chemically, as you breed more kids more kids are going to be more vulnerable in families. Not enough money has been put into knowledge, causes, chemical changes in the body, puberty, the medical mental professions dont have a clue, its just take that and see, if it works,,, more money into research,, my mother put the fear of god into us, about "such Stuff" and in a way it did work!! maybe kids know too much, but not enough of what can go wrong, in pregnancy, ect, they are not mentally prepared for,, most of it, kids having kids,,, this has to stop!!! as its bringing another set of problems, Parenting skills responsibility, they can hardly look after a pet rabbit, let alone a child. I agree with Delzek too. But how can we undo the mistakes we have made?? its already out there.!!

  • Our kids are bombarded with negatives and it was always better in our day doesn't help. Some short simple films and discussions approved by the experts has been proven to help children deal with things like isolation, team work and mindfulness. Low cost-high impact as we know budgets for these things is almost non-existent.

  • Discussions and films "approved by the experts" ? Surely we would need the "Experts" to be involved with the discussions? Otherwise we would only be half teaching the Children,this is my biggest worry tbh, IF Children are to be compulsory taught about Mental health then it should be done properly, imho this government are cutting everything including corners,You dont need a qualification in some schools "Academies" hence another of me reasons of reluctance about teaching Children about Mental health issues, I feel sorry for kids of today ok they got their playstations xboxes etc etc they are losing their compassion due to games like Tour of duty or the driving ones where they score points for running over prostitutes or old folk, I do know that I am in the minority and I really do respect everyones opinions ,but I honestly cant see myself agreeing to it sorry I have to be true to myself onvthis point!

  • Should Children be allowed to be Children or not? Sex education mental health education? For pitys sake let them enjoy Childhood whilst they can!

  • They might enjoy their childhood more if they knew about mental health problems because then they would be able to understand what's happening to them, get the help and support they need and be able to help/support others around them. My childhood was f*****because no one taught me about depression and I spent years thinking I was just some weird nutter, when actually I was suffering from a mental health issue that I could've got help for.

  • Children should get help and support as soon as they are diagnosed,but to teach children about mental health when they are young just seems fundamentally wrong! Of course it would be different if someone in their home or class is mentally ill . Kids today are getting lessons on all sorts of things that are in reality Creating problems,I say this because we had a lad who had schizophrenia at school and were told about his problem after he was hospitalised, only after we were told other kids started acting fools then telling the stupid jokes "Im in two minds about schizophrenia " when he came back to school he was the but of some cruel times! Its wrong full stop just let kids enjoy childhood without putting more stress on the ill or giving them ammunition to mentally abuse someone that is suffering!

  • Look this world is bad enough for kids now,teaching them about mental health could create a minefield of new problems,as sorry as i am for your bad experiences Tashamac it doesn't mean that other children need to be taught about mental health in general ! A better idea would be if a child in a class has mental health issues then the subject could be broached by a guest speaker in assembly or something? I personally think to "Teach"children about mental health is a step to far! I have problems but just because I have problems i dont expect the local council to "Teach"my neighbours about mental health! All this so called education is ruining our kids lives, a nanny state corrupting the innocents minds what next? "How to take advantage of others good nature"???

  • To be honest I think that's a poor excuse. Let's not teach kids about drugs, sex, smoking, contraception, rape or anything bad because we don't want their idilic childhood to be ruined or for them to be corrupted by the "nanny state". That nanny state is the state that will have to pay for all the kids that grow up to have more serious problems because they weren't taught properly, diagnosed and helped when they were younger. If a kid knows what mental health is at school, it becomes normalised. They know what's happening to them and others around them and so grow up accepting people's problems and understand how to help those around them or themselves. If people aren't taught about mental health at school, how are they meant to know that they have issues in order to get the individual help you talk about. Mental health is more prevelant in our society than ever. Kids need to know about it in an appropriate, age relevant way, because if they don't the ignorance, and lack of knowledge that surrounds mental health just continues on for generations to come. Kids can still be kids, whilst being taught things that are relevant to them and a large proportion of our society.

  • If and I mean IF you are going to teach kids about all this then I hope You will make sure that the persons teaching them know exactly what they are on about ! Ie "Experienced" Counsellors or psychiatrists not some school teacher that knows nothing but what they have read ! Just because I have problems does not mean I want others to think they are having the same just because a teacher had told them about mental health ! You cant teach about mental health issues unless you have been there or have qualified within that part of psychiatry! (I know shrinks that know Nothing they just go by the book no compassion nothing,yet I know others who know and understand the problems ) I feel sick to the stomache now,its the ruddy nanny state that causes many childhood problems ! Why have the government cut spending on Mental health ? Why have they cut funding on childrens mental health? Do you not read the papers watch the news? Your above post is wrong in too mzny places! I will not justify any further why I believe children should have the chance to be children,If you had any then you would know exactly what I mean,No offence intended yet tbh I dont care!

  • God I think you might be an actual idiot, no offence yet. But if you want to be stuck in an ignorant past where nothing changes for the better then fine. Changing education systems is where the future starts changing. Literally your only argument is "Aw what if a little kid gets upset". Kids aren't idiots and they adapt and learn amazingly well. I will 100% teach my children about mental health when I have some. I will teach them how to be compassionate and understand that people have hidden struggles. Kids are the future which is why they need to be taught properly and about things relevant to our society. Perhaps if people had been taught about mental health when you were at school, there wouldn't be so many people now who have mental health problems, and they wouldn't be cutting mental health funding because the wouldn't be under such strain. There wouldn't be the complete ignorance and lack of empathy towards those who are suffering. Think what you will but your attitude will not be one that changes the future for the better.

  • Teaching your own children is a good idea,because its on your terms,Obviously you would be in a position to teach them,! Perhaps you ought to read on how to conduct yourself in a debate Personal abuse just lowers the tone aad shows your ignorance! Do not insult me or any other posters just because you disagree thank you

  • Don't bother replying. I can't be bothered with this anymore

  • Thats good !insult then run away! We need a block button now!

  • Trust me I'm not running away! I just know that you can't change an ignorant mind over a debate in the internet! This is a topic I'm very passionate about having suffered and watched people suffer for years due to ignorant people like you and the lack of proper teaching in the education system, so excuse me for being cross that you are only adding to a really huge and prevalent problem. If you think I am the ignorant one then you are mistaken. Have a good day :)

  • The same as ,I have and still suffer,I know from both sides .I happen to be very open minded and accept change when its necessary, I must admit I do not like your attitude you are rude and if anyone is ignorant on here I suggest you go and look in the mirror, Insulting me and my intellect is completely out of order! I suggest you grow up

  • Ok I'll be the grown up and apologise for being rude to you. I get very cross about stuff like this because I want to see change for our future. Changing the education system means everything changes. I am sorry (not being sarcastic) for being rude. I'm a moody cow sometimes and get caught up in my own opinion. Let's agree to disagree and leave it there.

  • Thankyou agreeing to disagree is a better option ,I hope we are all passionate about our views, I am, and I would be the first to admit I have had my opinions changed in the past because of other posters putting their side across and making me realise my opinion needed to change! Bob is great at explaing things and puts things across so eloquently, I respect all posters opinions but dont always agree with them!

  • Trouble is just because you don't want to doesn't mean that vacuum isn't filled with an even worse voice. Trust kids to learn because there are many vultures out there when your back is turned. If the kids aren't interested they won't pay any attention anyway. I am sure you remember forbidden fruit conversations other kids were having or worse still adults.

  • It's a difficult one. In one way yes it would e good if they are really down at home, yet in another may just get their brains working overtime, so that they talk themselves being depressed. It would be good for them the difference between being a bit fed up and upset, to being really depressed

  • I think it should definitely be something the schools should talk about .especially losing someone they love at such a young age.everyone grieves differently. Some people can't handle it and take there own lifes.its heart breaking

  • In my day you had your "year tutor"or the school nurse!

  • As long as it's at an appropriate age, absolutely! My only concern would be that as soon as some kids learn about these diseases, they all think that they have them. I'd make sure that the lesson plans were carefully planned with the help of mental health professionals.

  • In an age appropriate way, yes. I think the focus should be on mental health initially, and particularly ways in which to manage their own health, stress etc. There should also be education on realising that mental illness is not something to be scared of. Then there should be teaching on how to recognise that someone else (like a friend or fellow pupil) might be showing signs of mental illness. At a later age, peer support would be a good thing, enabling the pupils to have other people to talk to about things like the stresses around exams, subject choices, home issues, puberty, pressure from outside sources (e.g. magazines, TV, music videos/music) to look or act in unhealthy ways. Suicide risk and self-harm must be included, but handled sensitively.

    Planning must be done carefully with the help of mental health professionals, with support from recognised charities and other groups to whom children could be referred if required. It is no good teaching them about mental health/illness if there is no professional support for those who need it.

    I feel strongly that parents should be informed each year what will be covered, partly so that they can also be educated about mental health issues, but also so that if they have children who are living with mental illness they can be prepared to give them extra support if required.

  • Both schools

  • I think that all kinds of mental health issues could be taught in Schools, not just depression.

  • definitely. If I learnt about depression back in school I think I would be in a better place than I am today also I wouldn't be too scared to talk about it

  • Anything to educate them younger

  • Absolutely yes! I think it would get rid of some of the stigma of mental illness and may help save some young lives! Classmates would potentially know signs to look for and the kids themselves might feel more comfortable asking for help! Also could help with dealing with family members who suffer at home!

  • Definitely, the only way to get rid of the stigma is awareness and being properly informed, hopefully it'll get rid of some of the preconceptions that mental illness isn't an illness just like any other and it's all just attention seeking or because people are too weak to deal with everyday problems. There are people out there who suffer from mental health disorders at an extremely young age, so it should be taught from as young as possible. It's not for the purpose of robbing them of their childhoods it's just shaping their minds so that they grow up with the right attitudes, and if they are unfortunate enough to develop mental health issues at a young age they'll be aware of what's going on and maybe won't feel as embarrassed or isolated because they've already discussed it in school. I heard of the same being done with teaching primary school children about protecting themselves from sexual harassment or abuse and it was being taught in an age appropriate way, it made me wish I was taught something like that at my age.

  • I don't believe primary schools are an appropriate place to begin educating kids about mental health.

    I would agree secondary schools are a good time to start, but I think the process needs to be staggered over a few years. Perhaps the affects of bullying on mental health would be a good place to start.

    Then the education process would be enlightening and practical simultaneously.

    Kind regards, Catherine.

  • Why are Primary schools inappropriate? Obviously, people start to encounter such problems in their early years, and if children know what's happening and how to deal with it, there would be a much better chance of positive outcomes. Bullying ALSO takes place in Primary schools- are? the children "too young" to be taught how to confront/overcome its effects

  • Both, as few people are aware young children can suffer from depression. Ie cases of domestic or child abuse, I'll health, etc. 💗

  • Definitely secondary age.

  • I think it should be compulsory but, as a teacher of 30 years vintage myself, I KNOW from personal experience (including that of my children) that very few teachers have any knowledge or understanding of Mental Illness, unless they or a family member has suffered. Consequently, those who deliver this subject matter MUST be well informed, and the content must NOT be simply superficial/generalised. Preferably, Trained Counsellors (or Trained volunteers, eg Samaritans etc) would be drafted in to deliver it and support the students who might encounter problems. Financially, doubtless, school managers will argue that this is not be feasible, but, in my considerable experience, superficial knowledge delivered by uncommitted staff is WORSE than nothing being offered at all! IT MUST BE MORE THAN A COSMETIC EXERCISE!!!

  • i think its a bad idea and also agree with nitro_chick77 to a great extent. My only concern would be that as soon as some kids learn about these diseases, they all think that they have them.

  • Basic Financial, First Aid and Healthy Cooking should all be on there but will we see that day?

  • Really good point. Isn't education about preparing you about life and giving you the skills? By the time we are older and a generation later, some basic essentials seem prehistoric. We will always need the three listed above, but now there are other 'basics' too. With online pressures we need to be teaching how to use technology, but to protect yourself and others at the same time. Even small children, yes need to play and have fun, but you can weave critical thinking skills in too...

  • The problem is it will almost never happen because most schools don't have the money and anything that is not essential to the curriculum is being cut. Teaching our kids anything new or "life skills" just won't happen. Depressing that after all the argument of the rights and wrongs nothing will happen. Good debate tho' and some people did get excited.

  • Yes, cutting resources for health and education seem the most counterproductive thing possible. IT is being used in most learning now...maybe some online learning would help? There are some superb resources for guided or independent learning for small children. I still have hope :-). People caring that much to get excited is also good! I think surestart and other early intervention programmes were about this very issue. Interesting looking at how other countries are doing it :-)

  • Some form of Education may be a good idea just before the child begins its third Year Secondary etc year of education. Coping techniques and discussions regarding studying and overwork may help.

    I am still shocked that there are still Bullies at school, they can distract a Student and that in turn can ruin their education chances into their final years studying and taking examinations.

    Some forms of intervention may also help when a child at home is being pressured by parents when the child is studying and taking Examinations.

    A teacher with an interest in mental health will be able to pick up on children who are having problems and give a listening ear to a young person


  • Having read all the replies seems i am in the minority, I can accept that, although I cant agree, Debate has not changed my mind.Kids today see so much horror and are taught so many things that I feel are inappropriate, genuinely what next ?

  • i agree with you and it would just be another reason to bully someone if they were known to have a mental health problem. kids can be really nasty. just because we are in the minority does not mean we are wrong.

  • There was a girl diagnosed with Bipolar in my class and she was bullied about it, had little friends and ended up moving away because of it. If anyone would say they had something different people are going to pick on you for it. However i'm wondering if maybe mental health education would stop the bullying? If they had more awareness then perhaps they wouldnt be so cruel.

  • Both primary and secondary also help with bullying and what to do and how to get help and to get others to listen as this is not always available knowing who we can trust to share our emotions as such a young age we are so very frightened to speak up and not sure that we would be taken seriously. Pet talks from teachers is good in assembly but when it is one to one we are lost for words and so afraid adults do not know what pressure the child is under for speaking up only to get another beating.

  • It would be helpful if done correctly.

  • It needs to be someone with background knowledge and someone who has problems themselves to fully understand the child who is able to get more information from the child and to help them to overcome their fear. Talking to a teacher can make matters worse even though they may understand I was slap across the face of a male teacher in secondary school (he said he only tapped me which would not have hurt me it was to warn me as he said I would not listen to him this was a pack of lies) it meant my Dad having to face the head teacher and the teacher involved carried on teaching my class I felt scared I would sit at the back of the class in fear of being hit again as he was much bigger than me I didn't want to return to school so left at the earliest oppurtunity without taking any exams and got a job at 15yrs.

  • Definitely secondary and years 5&6

  • I know what people are saying about let children be children but my childhood was actually ruined due to mental health problems. Ive had anxiety since i was little in primary school. Of course i didn't know what it was back then i just knew that everything in the world worried me, i had extreme social anxiety and was unable to make friends and it would have been nice to taught about this so that perhaps i knew it wasn't normal, and could get help or for my classmates to understand why i am the way i am. My anxiety got so bad that it lead to insomnia at the age of 9 and that was the point i finally received help but not even then did they help with my anxiety.

    It is difficult however as i believe teachers would have to go through training in order to teach this in a sensitive and appropriate way. It could so easily be taught wrong, however it could even be beneficial training teachers in mental health so if they had a student suffering they would know how to treat the situation.

    Secondary school should without a doubt teach mental health. I believe over half of my classes in secondary school each and every person would have problems, anxiety, depression and id say 1 in 5 people in my class self harmed. Teenagers these days are really suffering but it's rare for them to speak out

  • Yes 100% yes

  • I signed the Petition because Shaw foundation explained" How+who" would be expected to "Explain" to children the facts rather than teach from a book ! That I can agree with.

    When someone that has a background in Mental health ie a Shrink or a person who has/is suffering from mental health problems is doing the explaining then they will do it I hope in a sympathetic compassionate manner.Rather than a teacher spouting from a book and being unable to reassure or answer questions on the subject! (theres a difference between explaining effects +symptoms of mental health problems and teaching about them) After all you would not get a baker to teach qauntum physics would you??

  • i never signed it because i dont agree with it at all. I see a can of worms opening up in many directions. Days of school, bullying. excuse for all sorts of horrible behaviour. i see adults doing it today. oh im sorry but i'v got mental illness. its no excuse. Even people who dont suffer under the umbrella use it as excuse to get away with many things.

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