Recent statistics show that 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by a mental health issue, and yet it is still debated whether this topic should be taught about in schools.

In April 2017 the Shaw Mind Foundation decided to launch a campaign (entitled Headucationuk), calling for the UK Government to it compulsory for schools to teach young people about mental health issues – and so far, the petition has over 100,000 signatures. It’s evident to see that there are thousands of people who want this change to come in place, so why isn’t enough being done to make this petition a reality? The answer is simple: schools simply do not have the funding, and therefore the capability, to equip their staff with the knowledge on how to identify these issues.

MP Catherine McKinnel said, in a recent debate in Parliament in response to this petition, “schools and colleges have a frontline role in promoting and protecting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing” – but, if this is one of the priorities that a school has, why hasn’t the Government made the teaching of mental health compulsory already? In a statement released by the Department of Education after this debate, they mentioned that they “want schools to be able to decide for themselves how to teach their pupils about mental health…drawing on resources and evidence provided by expert organisations”. Arguably, this simply isn’t enough to help schools provide the best help to their students about mental health; some schools could just tell their students what a mental health issue is, and not provide more information on how to identify and find help should they suffer from one.

As per the NSPCC website, “there were over 92,000 Childline counselling sessions with children and young people about mental health and wellbeing in 2015/16”, and out of these sessions, girls were almost seven times more likely to seek help than young males – and, from looking at these statistics, it is no wonder why there have been petitions calling for the Government to make the teaching of mental health compulsory in schools.