Yesterday marked the beginning of Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, which aims to open up a discussion about mental health and emotional wellbeing throughout the UK, with this year’s theme being promoting positive body image.
As the second day of Mental Health Awareness week commences, Education Minister Kirsty Williams and Health and Social Serviced Minister Vaughan Gething have spoken out about the importance of having open discussion around mental health in schools; highlighting the progress being made through the Government’s whole school approach.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:
“Mental Health Awareness week is a fantastic opportunity for everyone in Wales to have an open discussion about mental and emotional wellbeing, and this year’s theme of body positivity strikes a chord with what we’re doing here in Wales.
“Our National Mission places wellbeing at the core of our new curriculum, supporting our children and young people to become healthy confident individuals, who are building their mental and emotional well-being by developing confidence, resilience and empathy.
“We have taken a strong stance against all forms of bullying, adopting a holistic approach to address root causes, and teaching our learners how to use technologies safely, to ensure that schools offer an inclusive and engaging environment where our learners feel safe, supported and are ready to learn.”
Speaking on the subject of the Whole School approach Health and Social Services Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:
“Ensuring our children have access to effective mental health support is essential if they are to grow up to be healthy and confident individuals.
“That is why we continue to invest in services such as the CAMHS pilot, and a range of Transformation Fund projects to assist children and young people.
“Earlier this year, I announced and £7m in additional funding to expand the numbers of specialist staff available, and develop new support services.
“In Wales, we are leading the way in the UK by providing counselling services for children and young people aged between 11 and 18, as well as pupils in Year 6 of primary school. Our whole school approach to emotional wellbeing takes a preventative approach to improve the mental health and resilience of our children.”
Talking about support for teachers, the Education Minister added:
“We cannot expect our teachers to provide effective support to our learners, if they themselves are not supported.
“That’s why we’re working to address teacher’s workload concerns by moving to more digital classrooms, streamlining marking and assessment arrangements, as well as offering better guidance and supply arrangements in schools.
“We have also had early discussions with universities to look at ways of supporting the ITE curriculum to include engagement with ALN and mental wellbeing issues.”