Learning lessons in mental health

The closing of schools during the pandemic brought the mental health of young people into sharper focus as they dealt with the anxieties of home learning, separation from friends and isolation from support networks.

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Boclair Academy is among the first to use new resource © Copyright G Laird and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Boclair Academy in Bearsden has become one of the first schools in Scotland to trial a new mental health and wellbeing resource produced in partnership by Mental Health Foundation, Digital Bricks and Children’s Health Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The free professional learning tool is designed to support school staff to open up conversations with pupils and to make sure they know they always have someone to talk to.

Boclair Academy head teacher Douglas Brown has been impressed and is encouraging others to discover its benefits for themselves.

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He said: “My team has found the website to be excellent and there is so much material available to help get the conversation started with their classes.

"It has enabled them to reinforce to young people they are not alone, that they can speak to any member of staff and are a valued member of the school community.

"Feedback from my team is that the resources are current and across all the day-to-day issues that pupils are facing in school, at home and in the wider world. And pupils are opening up, knowing that their mental health and wellbeing is as important to us as any other part of school life.”

Ann Davie, East Dunbartonshire Council’s depute chief executive, says this latest resource helps build on the council’s commitment to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

She said: “We already ensure students in our secondary schools and older children in primary schools have access to counselling service providers.

"This additional resource helps teachers and other school staff to identify young people who may need that extra layer of support.

"It is important we encourage conversations about mental health. young people have come through so much and we must be alert to their concerns and emotions, their anxieties and stresses as we all begin to recover from the last two years.”

School staff can visit www.cypmh.co.uk to access the free course.