Sheffield schools lead the way in tackling children’s mental health issues and well-being

A report carried out by the House of Commons Education and Health Committees has called for more to be done to support children with mental health disorders after efforts were made by Sheffield schools to tackle the issue.

It found that the number of children and young people with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression had grown rapidly in recent years and schools are not equipped to deal with this.

The Healthy Minds scheme was adopted by ten schools throughout Sheffield which have made a number of changes to raise awareness of mental health disorders and promote emotional well-being among young people.

Steve Rippin, assistant head teacher at Tapton School which took part in the scheme, said: “We focused on holding assemblies and workshops where staff and students could talk about mental health issues and the signs and symptoms involved.

“We wanted to get across to them that they could come to us if they notice something isn’t quite right. The earlier we can do something about it, the better.”

The scheme was praised by NHS England and was introduced to a further 40 English schools last month, paving the way for changes to be made in schools across the county.

The government report has made a number of recommendations which will help teachers address mental health among young people and deal with it effectively. These include specialised training courses for teachers and staff and introducing positive-thinking workshops to help children deal with stress and overcome difficulties.

Mr Rippin said: “The main thing for us is to break the stigma around mental health and give people confidence to speak out about it.

“I think it’s these small changes throughout schools that will make all the difference and bring really positive changes to the lives of our young people.”