Mental health education should be compulsory in UK schools

Thursday 13th April 2017
All primary school children in the UK should be taught about mental health conditions, according to a new campaign. Image: bowdenimages via iStock
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Mental health should feature on the National Curriculum in the UK to increase awareness of conditions such as depression and anxiety among young people.

This is the opinion of the Shaw Mind Foundation, which has launched a new campaign entitled Headucation UK with the aim of getting the Department for Education to make learning about mental health compulsory for children from primary school onwards.

According to the results of a recent YouGov poll, more than three-quarters (79 per cent) of the parents of UK schoolchildren believe they should be taught more about mental health.

Of the 1,000 families surveyed, over half (57 per cent) said they had been affected by mental health issues in the past, meaning their children may have been better able to understand the situation if they had been receiving education on this subject.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent of survey respondents did not feel that their child's mental wellbeing was being looked after at school due to them simply not learning about feelings associated with illnesses like anxiety and depression.

Adam Shaw, founder of the Headucation UK project, explained to the Huffington Post that he struggled with his own mental health while at school and feels his youth could have been made easier if more of his peers understood his issues and could offer support.

"My life would have been completely different had I been given effective mental health education at primary school," he stated.

"I would have been able to ask for help and wouldn't have been so frightened. No child should have to experience that pain and fear. It is essential that we make mental health education compulsory."

In response, a government spokesperson said: "We want mental health to be an everyday concern in all institutions."

More than 57,000 people had signed an online government petition set up by Mr Shaw by Wednesday April 12th showing their support for mental health education to be made a compulsory part of the curriculum.

Written by Angela Newbury

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