Compulsory mental health education is essential in schools.

The Huffington Post reports that in May this year, our small foundation (of just 5 employees at the time), along with the support of the general public from all over the UK, achieved a huge goal: we garnered over 100,000 signatures on our government petition to make mental health education compulsory in all UK schools. We managed this in just three months, as our deadline was cut short by the snap general election. We were also unsure if it would even go through, considering the fact that a new petitions committee was to be put in place after our petition finished. 

But this week we received some brilliant news: confirmation that the petition was successful and will be debated in Parliament on the 6th November at 4:30pm.

We are The Shaw Mind Foundation, and the petition was part of our HeaducationUK campaign.

Compulsory mental health education is incredibly important to us and is, quite frankly, vital. This is why we set up the HeaducationUK campaign. Currently mental health is only taught as an optional component of PHSE – but this is not good enough. It needs to be compulsory. Understanding mental health is an absolute life skill, and should be just as fundamental within the school curriculum as reading and writing. There needs to be a compulsory collaboration and integration between mental health education and physical education, so that children and young people can understand that maintaining good mental health is equally vital to their wellbeing.

Mental health education is the only way we can tackle this issue effectively and relieve the enormous pressure on teachers, a stretched school curriculum, mental health social workers, the NHS and CAHMS, which will be hugely advantageous for the UK economy in the decades to come. Educating the next generation about mental illness will also aid us massively in normalising mental health conditions, eliminating stigma and encouraging open and honest conversations.

If mental health education was already a compulsory part of the national curriculum, where would you currently rank it on a list of importance in comparison to other subjects such as music, art, languages, technology etc.? Of course they’re all important, but if we were to suddenly remove one from the curriculum, what would have the biggest negative impact on UK society and economy? I can pretty much guarantee that losing compulsory mental health education would have the most detrimental effect. The consideration for not making mental health education compulsory now becomes even more farcical.

The current system works simply as a sticking plaster approach. Let’s make the UK a world leader in mental health services and public welfare.

Read the full article Compulsory Mental Health Education Is Essential In School.

Can room be made in the curriculum for compulsory mental health education? How can this be done? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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