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“Increasing number of English schools are adopting new approaches to detect mental illness”
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“Increasing number of English schools are adopting new approaches to detect mental illness”

As governments around the world grapple with the increasing costs and concerns around mental illness, England’s Department of Education is expanding a trial programme, which aims to detect and treat mental illness in children, writes Ruth Adeyi, 24, a Correspondent from London, UK. 

England’s Department of Education is in the midst of dolling out providing training contracts to companies to help teach pupils, as young as eight years old, how to fight anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

It is estimated that 10 per cent of children have a diagnosable mental health condition, which costs the country £105 billion a year.

Currently there is a four year trial of preventive mindful lessons being carried out each week in 26 schools. It is expected that the mental health ‘preventive’ programme, in the future, will be rolled out to over 200 schools.

The trial will be expanded following a report by The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which found secondary schools are facing an increasing demand for mental health professionals operating on site at least once a week. The rise in demand is attributed to loss of funding to the National Health Service and local authority schemes.

The IPPR report reveals that 90 per cent of headteachers have reported an increase in mental health issues in students over the last last five years. During that time, hospital admissions for self-harming by young people under the age of 18 has risen about 50 per cent.

The trial will involve specially trained teachers consulting with students, aged 13-15, on different types of mental illnesses and how they can be managed. Classes for younger children will be run by incorporating games, stretches, breathing, positive affirmations and visualisations.

The plan, if successful, could provide a means of affordable early intervention to help young people manage their emotional health. Mental health activists have urged the government to measure which interventions work best.

photo credit: dmitryzhkov via photopin (license)
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About me: My name is Ruth and I live in London. My main interest is the “International Drug Complex”. Using existing research on the failed “war on drugs”, I hope to draw awareness to how the international community and legal intervention in different countries is re-interpreting drugs, the drug market, and law enforcement.

My other interests include feminist theory, international trade and labour, climate change and environmental policy, and issues of social justice.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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