Better information and support on mental health issues must be provided within the education system in order to combat depression amongst school pupils, says a report by the newly launched charity MindFull. It reveals that one in five children show symptoms of depression, and more than 30 per cent have thought about or attempted suicide before the age of 16.
The report, Alone with my thoughts, includes a survey by YouGov which polled over 2000 young people. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed agree that adding information on mental health to the national curriculum and training teachers would be effective ways to tackle the mental health issues in the UK.
Emma-Jane Cross, MindFull’s founder, believes that young people are often let down or ignored when they try to communicate how they are feeling. “It’s unacceptable that so many are having to resort to harming themselves on purpose in order to cope, or worse still are thinking about ending their own lives”, she says.
The survey also highlights the importance of peer support when tackling mental health issues. Of those respondents who said they spoke to someone about depression, most confided in a friend (57 per cent), followed by parents (54 per cent) and a face-to-face counsellor (32 per cent). Just two per cent of young people said medicine alone is the best way to treat mental health issues.
The charity is calling for mental health to be embedded as a core theme in the national curriculum and for schools to provide access to counselling and mentor support for all young people who need it.
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