According to the World Health Organisation, ‘Mental health’ is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual recognises his or her own potential. They should be able to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and be able to make a contribution to his or her own community.
Pupils who suffer with stress and anxiety can lead to poorer academic achievement, apathy, depression, behavioural and wellbeing problems (now and in the future) and absenteeism. At a time when schools are increasingly under pressure and with changes taking place, students, teachers and school leaders are all facing higher levels of stress.
At least 850,000 UK children and young people aged between 5-16 years have a mental health disorder and the figure is expected to rise. Source: Youngminds.
An “outstanding” Ofsted judgement is made when “The school’s thoughtful and wide-ranging promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and their physical well-being enables pupils to thrive”. How do you demonstrate this?
In February 2016 the Government revised its guidance “Counselling in schools: a blueprint for the future Departmental advice for school leaders and counsellors”. The advice is non-statutory, and was produced to help school leaders set up and improve counselling services in primary and secondary schools. It provides practical, evidence-based advice informed by experts on how to ensure school based counselling services achieve the best outcomes for children and young people. It also sets out the Government’s expectation that over time we would expect to see all schools providing access to counselling services. It is equally relevant for schools with counselling services and those that currently have no access to them. It reflects views of children and young people on counselling, as well as those of schools. It recognises that effective counselling is part of a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.
As schools strive to increase performance it’s perhaps the time to consider alternative approaches to address these issues. It’s important to remember:
- Teenagers are under increasing study and exam pressure. It is common for students to latch on to their weaknesses rather than their strengths and can easily be discouraged by negative criticism;
- SAT’s & GCSEs can be a stressful time. Many students face concerns over the fear of failure, or not being able to remember what they have learned and apply it on the day of their exams;
- For some it isn’t just the anxiety or nerves at the time of the exam but often it is weeks or months ahead. They feel that while they are quite confident in the subject, their “nerves” may cause them to ‘let themselves down on the day’;
- In the run up to exams, many students struggle with their focus and attention due to excessive tension and lack of self-belief. Whilst a certain amount of anxiety is natural around exam time, for some students it is crippling, and very damaging.
Through pupil counselling pupils can learn to overcome their feelings of anxiety, grow in confidence and feel comfortable in exam conditions. With the help of simple, concentrated, techniques, pupils can learn to take control of their emotional state, remain focused and confident whilst being challenged in an academic/exam situation, improve performance and generally be happier!
For further information about employee and pupil counselling please speak to your HR Advisor or contact our sister company FusionHR on 01924 827869.