Day 40… Lights in the darkness

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Well I can’t quite believe it’s Easter Day and that this challenge is at it’s end.

Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to this blog by sharing your story around mental health or wellbeing. You have been both courageous and generous with what you have shared  and a real blessing to those who have read your story. I’d also like to thank all those who have followed the blog in any way; it’s been really nice to hear that you have been encouraged in some way by what you have read here. This blog will of course remain open and I will always aim to publish your story if you feel you are ready to share it. I’d also like to say at this point that it is now safe to subscribe (below) to this blog without fear of a daily bombardment of email from me!! Continue reading

BBC: Pupils as young as four having panic attacks, say teachers

Original BBC article here


Children as young as four are suffering from mental health problems such as panic attacks, anxiety and depression, teachers say.

Almost all of the 2,000 who responded to an NASUWT survey said they had come into contact with mentally ill pupils.

Members of the teaching union suggest schools are struggling to access enough support to deal with the issue.

The Department for Education said it was investing £1.4bn to ensure all children get the help they need.

The union is highlighting the problem at its annual conference in Manchester this weekend and it will also discuss school funding and the online world.

The survey found:

98% of teachers said they had come into contact with pupils who were experiencing mental health issues.

They were most likely to be teenagers, with more than half of teachers saying they had seen issues in 14 to 16-year-olds.

But nearly a fifth (18%) of those surveyed by the union said they had been in contact with four to seven-year-olds showing mental health issues while more than a third (35%) had seen problems in youngsters aged seven to 11.

Nine in 10 said they had experienced a pupil of any age suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, while 79% were aware of a pupil suffering from depression and 64% knew of a youngster who was self-harming.

Around half (49%) were aware of children with eating disorders, and a similar proportion (47%) knew about a youngster with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Pressure of exams and testing, family problems such as ill health or a break-up and social media were all seen as having an impact on mental health.

And when asked about how it affected pupil behaviour, most teachers agreed that it led to an inability to concentrate in class and led to a pupil being isolated from other students or have problems making friends.

‘Expert gap’

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary warned there was concern among teachers about a gap in the availability of experts and counselling to help children with mental health needs.

“It is clear that teachers and school leaders are seeing many more children and young people who are exhibiting the signs of serious mental distress.

“Teachers and school leaders take very seriously their duty of care to their students and it is clear there is a great deal of concern in the profession about the gulf in the availability of expert physiological support and counselling for pupils with mental health needs.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said no child should suffer from mental health issues and that it was investing a record £1.4bn to ensure all children get the help and support they need.

“We are strengthening the links between schools and NHS mental health staff and later this year will publish proposals for further improving services and preventative work.

“Schools can teach about mental health in a number of ways and we have funded the PSHE Association to provide guidance for teachers on how to do this.

“We have already announced plans for every secondary school in the country to be offered mental health first aid training. We trust teachers to deliver assessment in a sensible manner that will not create stress among children.”

‘Asking for money’

The NUT is also meeting in Cardiff for its annual conference this weekend.

Speaking beforehand, the union’s general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “Funding is going to be a theme that dominates the conference.

“In schools around the country, class sizes are going up. We are seeing arts, dance drama and music being cut. Vocational education is being cut.

“We are seeing schools around the country sending letters to parents asking for money on a regular basis to make up for the the gap that the government is leaving in school budgets.”

The Department for Education insists that schools in England are funded at record levels and that its investment will rise as pupil numbers rise.

Cross Oceans

cross oceans

Day 39 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge, I really can’t believe there is only one day left! As I said before, I’ll post day 40 on Easter Day, however, if you have a story, in-between now and then, I will post it.

I often see sayings like the one crossed out above on sites like Facebook and Linked-in, and it always makes me a bit sad. I came across this version a few weeks ago (I think maybe a quote from Jay John, but it’s off the internet so not totally sure!)  and thought it was brilliant and wondered if it may have an application for this blog… Continue reading

The thing about labels…

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Day 38 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. It’s strange to think that this challenge is coming to an end! Whilst I won’t be posting a blog every day in a few days time, doing this challenge has highlighted the fact that people are ready to speak about their battles. Because of that, if you have something you feel you’d like to share, then please do just get in touch – there will always be a space for your story here. Today, I share about my views on labels… Continue reading

Taboo

taboo

Day 35 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. So I am wondering about getting to day 39 and then taking a break until Easter Sunday. In the meantime I shall continue to collect new contributions (please keep them coming in!) and focus on getting more exposure to the contributions that have already been written. I shall also spend some time thinking about and planning what happens next, since this blog has attracted far more interest than I imagined it would. Watch this space!

Today, I’m going to reblog something simple I wrote a couple of years ago about the Taboo surrounding mental wellbeing… Continue reading

Sarah’s Postnatal Depression

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Day 34 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. Still more space for contributions, please please do get in touch. Remember to “share” or “re-post” if you have been moved or encouraged by anything you read here. We need lots more hits on the blog to reach 5000 before Easter!

We know that postnatal depression is more common than we may be aware, but it can still really take us by surprise and leave us feeling isolated and inadequate. Today Sarah really kindly shares her story with us… Continue reading

Children in Care

family feetDay 33 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge.

“Children living in care are more likely to have problems with their mental health than children who aren’t in care, in fact, they are 4 times more likely than their peers to have a mental health difficulty.  And if we don’t help children and young people early enough then these problems can get worse”.  (NSPCC)

Today, an amazing family share their story of fostering… Continue reading

5000 views…?

Day 32 of my 40 (46) Day Blog Challenge. In case you are new here, let me fill you in . I decided to publish a blog around the subject of mental health and wellbeing every day for Lent. Mental health is such an important subject to be speaking about openly, and I wanted to see what would happen if I started this. Very quickly, lots of people decided to join in and write about their own experiences of mental health. It has been such a blessing. And thank you everyone who has participated so far. There are now just 2 weeks left to go.

So now I’d like to challenge you! Continue reading

Mental Health & Debt

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Day 27 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. I wanted to have a think about how mental health can impact on our financial wellbeing, and vice versa. I was looking around and found the following article from Martin Lewis of Moneysavingexpert.com. I think this article serves as a good introduction to the issue; hopefully, this will be something I think about a little more here on the blog before the 40 days is up.

Don’t forget, if you have a story, I’d still love to hear from you. The following is taken straight from Moneysavingexpert.com where you can view the full article and really helpful resource guide here.

A message from Martin

Be under no illusions. Mental health problems can cause severe debt, and severe debt can cause mental health problems. Continue reading

Not “OK”

Firstly, our thoughts must be with all those individuals and families affected by yesterday’s terrible events in Westminster. It has been a truly dark day. 

I had another blog lined up to post today but felt the need say something about the events of yesterday. Today’s will be a brief post. 

The events took place just less than 1/2 mile from my office in Westminster. I was in a team meeting at the time, oblivious to what what was happening. It was only when we checked the answerphone after the meeting that we all became aware. 

At first it was surreal. I called my wife to say I was ok. We all made our way out of the office and started our various journeys home. I got the 17.06 back to Sussex and the safety of my home and family, for which it feels I have never been more grateful. 

It was only during the evening that the reality began to sink in. I didn’t want to watch the news, and spent the rest of the evening feeling numb and subdued. 

That feeling remains with me this morning as I write this on the train heading back into Westminster. I could pretend everything was ok, but somehow, my small part of the world feels very different today. 

Thankfully I wasn’t caught up in the events yesterday; but they have certainly had an impact on me. I felt the need to share that, as I process what it means to work in the heart of a city which has no immunity in this era of terrorism. 

Of course, things will settle down and probably quickly return to “normal”. But for today, I acknowledge that I’m really not OK, and that is OK.