Wise Up to wellbeing in schools: a manifesto promise

Friday 12 May 2017

We’ve teamed up with Rethink Mental Illness, the Mental Health Foundation, the National Children’s Bureau and the British Youth Council and many more, for this letter to the Daily Telegraph. Our letter to the Daily Telegraph. Children and young people face a huge range of pressures - from exams to cyberbullying, from body image to finding a job when they finish education. An estimated three children in every class have a mental health condition, one in four experience emotional distress, and rates of self-harm are skyrocketing. Alongside 2,000 teachers, 1,000 mental health professionals, 4,000 parents and 1,000 young people, we have written to the Prime Minister urging her to address the mental health crisis in our classrooms. We are now calling on all parties to make manifesto commitments to do the same. While it is not the role of schools to replace the specialist support that mental health services provide, they can and should play a crucial role in developing the skills young people need to cope and flourish in today’s world. But at the moment the education system is fundamentally unbalanced, with an over-emphasis on exams and too little focus on student wellbeing.

We want to see greater recognition for good work schools do on wellbeing, proper funding for wellbeing initiatives, and mental health as an integral part of teacher training. It is time to ensure that the wellbeing of students is as important as academic achievement in schools.

Signed by: Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds; Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of National Children’s Bureau; Ruth Sutherland, Chief Executive of Samaritans; Dr. Peter Hindley, Chair of the Child and Adolescent Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Heidi Stewart, Director of Enterprise & Innovation, Rethink Mental Illness; Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of Mental Health Foundation; Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England; Chris Martin, Chief Executive of The Mix; Jo Hobbs, Chief Executive of British Youth Council; Mark Lever, Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society; Dr Hadyn Williams, Chief Executive of British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy; Martin Pratt, Chief Executive of Association of Child & Adolescent Mental Health

Evan Grant, Trustee of Cameron Grant Memorial Trust; Jamie Bristow, Director of The Mindfulness Initiative; Adam Shaw, Chairman of The Shaw Mind Foundation; For more on our Wise Up campaign read the report. Read The Report