World Mental Health Day

What do Dwayne Johnson, Demi Lovato, JK Rowling and David Walliams have in common?

Did you get it?

Well as well as being ridiculously inspiring they have all at one point or another experienced Mental Health issues at one stage or another in their lives.

1 in 4 people in the UK are likely to experience a mental health issue in their lifetime and 3 young people in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition.

We know that young people who are being bullied, but are not being supported, are more likely to develop issues such as self-isolation and self-harm. 

Many of us don’t feel comfortable talking about our mental health though, and it’s not always possible just to tell whether someone is doing alright just from looking at them.

That’s why this World Mental Health Day we’re encouraging people to take a second and think about the steps they can take to look after their mental health and how they can support others. We spoke to Katie Buckingham at Altruist Enterprises who told us that if you suspect someone of experiencing mental health difficulties you can do the following

Top Tip 1: A few small words like ‘How are you feeling?’ can make a real difference. What else could you say?

Top Tip 2: Avoid clichés – Pull yourself together won’t help. Try to be open minded and non-judgemental.

Top Tip 3: Think about your body language. Try to be relaxed and open. 

Top Tip 4: Don’t avoid the issue – you may think that it will pass but it's best to talk. 

Top Tip 5: Give them time and be patient. The problem won’t just go away overnight. 

If you think you might be experiencing some mental health issues yourself the best thing you can do is talk to someone about it, Rebecca Parkin, a Diana Award winner who campaigns for Mental Health issue says "If one approach at getting help doesn't work there's many other things to try and there is always someone else who can help, you just have to keep trying and never give up".

The NHS has lots of advice and support on Mental Health available and there are lots more support links at the bottom of the page.

Teachers can take action too; if you suspect that a student’s mental health is at risk due to bullying you should always work with the victim to ensure they receive the support they need.

Make sure that you listen to their worries and help them access help from support that already exists within the school such as the school nurse or safeguarding lead. Together you can work out coping strategies such as time-out cards or regular check-in’s with a staff member.

Schools can also work to create a positive culture around mental health by discussing the topic regularly with staff and students to reduce stigma. Having a clear outline of what support is available for staff and students and making sure it is accessible can also be really useful.

Remember that as well as looking after your students you should also be looking after yourself, we have lots of links about how to do this below.

Sources of support:

For young people

For teachers