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    Mental Health

    Mental Health - is a state of well being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community (WHO)

    Here is an interesting set of resources on mental health aimed at KS2 children, It helps children distinguish between Small Feelings (every day transient stuff) and Big Feelings:

    The teenage years are both exciting and challenging to parent and carers. It can be hard to know whether a teenager's feelings and behaviour are normal or becoming a problem.


    Anna Freud Centre's child mental health experts have written a leaflet to provide simple advice and guidance to parents and carers about how to make conversations about their child's feelings part of everyday life.


    "Talking Mental Health with young people at secondary school: some advice for parents and carers" booklet here:



    Prevalence of Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Issues
    • 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder - that is around three children in every class.
    • Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm.
    • There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self-harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68%.
    • More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time.
    • Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.
    • The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s.
    • Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression.
    • 3.3% or about 290,000 children and young people have an anxiety disorder.
    • 72% of children in care have behavioural or emotional problems - these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

    Possible warning signs include:

    • Physical signs of harm that are repeated or appear non-accidental
    • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
    • Increased isolation from friends or family, becoming socially withdrawn
    • Changes in activity and mood
    • Lowering of academic achievement
    • Talking or joking about self- harm or suicide
    • Abusing drugs or alcohol
    • Expressing feelings of failure, uselessness or loss of hope
    • Changes in clothing – eg. long sleeves in warm weather
    • Secretive behaviour
    • Skipping PE or getting changed secretively
    • Lateness to or absence from school
    • Repeated physical pain or nausea with no evident cause
    • An increase in lateness or absenteeism

    Support on all these issues can be accessed via Young Minds (,

    Mind ( and (for e-learning opportunities)

    Minded (

    Place2Be (

    Self harm

    Self-harm describes any behaviour where a young person causes harm to themselves in order to cope with thoughts, feelings or experiences they are not able to manage in any other way. It most frequently takes the form of cutting, burning or non-lethal overdoses in adolescents, while younger children and young people with special needs are more likely to pick or scratch at wounds, pull out their hair or bang or bruise themselves. 

    Coping with self-harm a guide for parents and carerSMental health Issues info sheet from NSPCC

    Online support

    National Self-Harm


    Ups and downs are a normal part of life for all of us, but for someone who is suffering from depression these ups and downs may be more extreme. Feelings of failure, hopelessness, numbness or sadness may invade their day-to-day life over an extended period of weeks or months, and have a significant impact on their behaviour and ability and motivation to engage in day-to-day activities.


    Online support


    anxiety and panic attacks

    Anxiety can take many forms in children and young people, and it is something that each of us experiences at low levels as part of normal life. When thoughts of anxiety, fear or panic are repeatedly present over several weeks or months and/or they are beginning to impact on a young person’s ability to access or enjoy day-to-day life, intervention is needed.


    Online support


    obsessions and compulsions

    Obsessions describe intrusive thoughts or feelings that enter our minds which are disturbing or upsetting; compulsions are the behaviours we carry out in order to manage those thoughts or feelings. For example, a young person may be constantly worried that their house will burn down if they don’t turn off all switches before leaving the house. They may respond to these thoughts by repeatedly checking switches, perhaps returning home several times to do so. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can take many forms – it is not just about cleaning and checking.

    Online support


    suicidal feelings

    Young people may experience complicated thoughts and feelings about wanting to end their own lives. Some young people never act on these feelings though they may openly discuss and explore them, while other young people die suddenly from suicide apparently out of the blue.


    Online support

    Prevention of young suicide UK –          

    eating problems

    Food, weight and shape may be used as a way of coping with, or communicating about, difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours that a young person experiences day to day. Some young people develop eating disorders such as anorexia (where food intake is restricted), binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa (a cycle of bingeing and purging). Other young people, particularly those of primary or preschool age, may develop problematic behaviours around food including refusing to eat in certain situations or with certain people. This can be a way of communicating messages the child does not have the words to convey.

    Online support

    Beat – the eating disorders charity

    Eating Difficulties in Younger Children and when to