Over the course of their education, children spend over 7,800 hours at school. With such a huge amount of time spent in the classroom, schools provide an ideal environment for promoting good emotional wellbeing and identifying early behaviour changes and signs of mental distress. The social and emotional skills, knowledge and behaviours that young people learn in the classroom can help them to build resilience and set the pattern for how they will manage their mental health throughout their lives.
Emotional wellbeing is a clear indicator of academic achievement, success and satisfaction in later life. Evidence shows that mental health and wellbeing programmes in schools, can lead to significant improvements in children’s mental health, and social and emotional skills. Wellbeing provision in schools can also lead to reductions in classroom misbehaviour and bullying.
However, despite the known benefits of good wellbeing provision, at present the education system is unbalanced. There is too much emphasis on academic attainment and not enough focus on promoting the wellbeing of students. The prominence given to exams and academic attainment within the education system is having a negative impact, with 80% of young people saying that exam pressure has significantly impacted on their mental health.