Free Mental health resources published

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: iStock

Teenagers have a good awareness of mental health problems but still hold some worrying misconceptions, research involving 23 secondary schools has discovered.

The survey of 3,500 students aged from 11 to 18 found that the vast majority understand that mental health problems can happen to anyone.

A third of the young people had also acted to help someone with a mental health problem.

At the same time, however, a third believed that people are born with mental health problems, while a third also thought that a mental health problem is when someone finds it difficult to learn something new.

The research was commissioned by the Time to Change mental health campaign to mark its annual month of awareness-raising and support activities in November.

The charity is publishing a range of resources to support the month based around its In Your Corner campaign, which is encouraging young people to be more open to the topic of mental health by being “in their mate’s corner”.

The resources are free and include lesson plans, assembly ideas and other activity suggestions for schools.

Matthew Wright, executive headteacher at Wrotham School in Kent, has prioritised mental health work in his school. He said: “The way our students think and act about mental health is a national priority and Time to Change has plenty to offer to help engage children with the topic.

“We’ve found Time to Change’s free resources such as assembly ideas, lesson plans and short activities have encouraged students to talk more about the topic of mental health and to think twice about judging anyone with a mental health problem. I can’t recommend these tools enough and it’s amazing to see students begin to think and talk about mental health just as they would physical health.”

The Time to Change research also found that one in five of the young people thought that those with mental health problems cannot enjoy friendships, meet challenges or develop their talents. However, four in 10 did recognise that mental health problems had affected them or their families.

Jo Loughran, director of operations at Time to Change, said: “It’s extremely encouraging that young people are so switched on to mental health and in many cases, recognise mental health problems as something that can affect anyone. It’s a strong indication that our work in schools is having the desired effect.

“But despite the fact that most of the young people surveyed have had some degree of exposure to the topic of mental health, many are still confused about the impact of living with a mental health problem – harbouring misconceptions.

“The reality is that people with mental health problems can reach their potential and lead fulfilling lives. One in 10 young people are living with a mental health problem so we need to make it more acceptable to talk openly so that students feel able to ask for the support they need. We’re keen to work with as many schools as possible and would encourage teachers to visit our website and register their interest.”


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