Place2Be supports Scottish school children and staff’s mental health during turbulent timesWith 1 in 6 children now suffering from a mental health condition, specialised services have never been in more demand.
As children start a new school year, Place2Be continues to work across the UK to roll out crucial programmes to support the mental wellbeing of thousands of young people.
We are all still reeling from the shocking and recent events which have beset the past few years, and we continue to live through – the war in Ukraine, a Covid pandemic, and now the cost-of-living crisis. Data shows that rises in unemployment and worsening income inequality; increases in family breakdowns and parental mental health difficulties, exposure to social media and pressures around physical appearance and school performance are also contributing to mental health problems amongst our children and young people.
School staff are working tirelessly, but massively stretched. One teacher, speaking in the EIS members survey (2021), articulated that, “The demand on teachers now is the greatest it has ever been, and we are at burnout. We forget that we have our own mental health and families to deal with. It is becoming impossible.”
Who are Place2Be?
Place2Be is a leading UK children’s mental health charity committed to improving lives of children and young people, through specialist support across the school.
The charity champions early intervention, working across over 450 schools in the UK, both primary and secondary. Each school has a dedicated Place2Be mental health professional who is an integral part of the school team. Place2Be work within the Scottish government’s mental health policy framework which fosters a whole school approach .
Place2Be has been in Scotland since 1999, invited by the then Scottish Executive to work in 10 schools across Edinburgh. Since that time, it has expanded its service to include 58 primary and secondary schools in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, Perth & Kinross and the Highlands, reaching a school population of approximately 24,000 children and young people. The organisation is currently expanding to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
How do Place2Be support school staff in Scotland?
Place2Be offers several training programmes to support staff wellbeing. Their reflective supervision offer, Place2Think, provided spaces for the wellbeing of 400 teachers and senior leaders in Scotland’s schools through the Government’s Covid-19 Education Recovery Group. They have also recently released the Senior Mental Health Leads programme, a 12-week programme that supports leaders to build capacity in schools through evaluation and implementation of their mental health strategy.
To ensure every staff member in school understands young people through the lens of children’s lives, Place2Be have recently started a Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme.
Mental Health Champions – Foundation programme
This CPD-certified online programme is free for all staff members working in schools, including five online modules of 15-minute sections. Modules uncover child development and how mental health issues start to form, and how these present in the classroom. During the programme, participants consider their own attachment, and how we might get triggered by behaviour in the classroom.
As the adults who support children and young people, the programme also considers the importance of the wellbeing of school staff as well as parents. A mental health practitioner mentors participants, helping them reflect on their own experiences with young people in school.
93% of school staff that have completed the programme feel that the course increased their capacity to lead a positive approach to mental health and wellbeing. The next cohort goes live in October, sign up here: www.place2be.org.uk