The Importance of PSHE Education in Schools
Why is PSHE education important in schools with a focus on mental health
PSHE (Personal Social Health Education) is a school subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe and prepare for life and work in modern Britain. Evidence shows that well-delivered PSHE programs have an impact on both academic and non-academic outcomes for pupils, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
Initially, PSHE was a small subject, often ‘touched’ on possibly a few times a year or if you were lucky once a week in form time. You may remember your PSHE lessons as an awkward time with your history teacher, where he or she briefly talked about periods or checking your testicles for lumps. Most remember the lessons as either extremely awkward or just plain unhelpful.
Mental health problems affect 1 in 10 young people today in the UK. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorders, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.
Thankfully, most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. That’s probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.
Alarmingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
The role of KIP Education CIC is critical in many ways. We provide opportunities for young people to develop a balanced perspective about many important issues which they will face during the course of their lives and to develop life skills.
KIP Education CIC’s workshops for young people and parents and training for professionals, aims to develop skills and attributes like resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, and critical thinking in the context of learning, grouped into three core themes: health and wellbeing, relationships and living in the wider world.
Dealing with change
Changes often act as triggers for young people: e.g. moving home or school or the birth of a new brother or sister. Some children who start school feel excited about making new friends and doing new activities, but there may also be some who feel anxious about entering a new environment.
Teenagers can experience emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop. An important part of growing up is working out and accepting who you are. Some young people find it hard to make this transition to adulthood and may experiment with things that affect their mental health. Again, this is why PSHE is so important and why it’s so important that the sessions your school provides are effective.
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
- Being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
- Having the time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
- Being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
- Going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
- Taking part in local activities for young people.
Other factors are also important, including:
- Feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
- Being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
- Being hopeful and optimistic
- Being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
- Accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
- Having a sense of belonging in their family, school, and community
- Feeling they have some control over their own life
- Having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.
It is critical that the school’s approach to PSHE is one which is engaging, thought-provoking and inclusive in order to provide equality of opportunity and acceptance of difference irrespective of individual pupil backgrounds, abilities, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity (DfE, 2015)
KIP Education believes that the emotional wellbeing of young people is as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows them to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.
Other organisations that can help
- Family Lives
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
- PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide)