Emotional and Mental Health


Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.

The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

The best approach to supporting children with mental health issues, is part of a whole school approach to mental health and emotional well-being.

BBC News: Improve children’s mental health care, head teachers urge (5th March 2016)

-More young people are suffering from mental health issues but the care on offer outside schools is not keeping pace, say head teachers.

-In total, 55% of 338 school leaders surveyed by the Association of School and College Leaders reported a large rise in pupils with anxiety and stress.

-Almost 65% said they struggled to get mental health services for pupils.

The survey, launched at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham, found that over the past five years:

-79% of heads saw an increase in self harm or suicidal thoughts among students.

-53% of those who had referred a pupil to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) rated them poor or very poor.

-Overall, 80% of respondents wanted to see CAMHS expanded in their area.

-According to the report, carried out by ASCL alongside the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), most schools offer on-site support to students – for example, counselling and educational psychology sessions.

Mental health day: 10th October 2018

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:

  • being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
  • being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
  • going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
  • taking part in local activities for young people.

Other factors are also important, including:

  • feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
  • being hopeful and optimistic
  • being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
  • accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
  • having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
  • feeling they have some control over their own life
  • having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.

If you want to measure and monitor pupils’ well-being, you may wish to consider using the ‘Mental Health Toolkit for schools’. This is free to download from the Anna Freud website.

If you want to find out more about health related behaviour of Norfolk children, please access the survey that was completed in 2015. A new survey will be undertaken in 2017, if you wish for your school to take part please contact Carolyn.watts@norfolk.gov.uk