5 Ways Teachers Can Support Teenagers With Their Mental Health

It’s no surprise to hear that sadly mental health concerns for young people have multiplied in recent times. According to stem4, 1 in 6, 5-16-year olds have a diagnosable mental health disorder, with 6 in 10 young people saying they are experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, eating disorders, and self-harming behaviours. 

Youth Mental Health Day encourages understanding and discussion of mental health in young people, enabling them to live happy and healthy lives all year round. Each year, the day aims to get young people, and those who support them, talking about how to improve mental health, break the stigma and shine a light on young people’s health issues to help enact change towards a more positive future. 

As a teacher, it can be very difficult to support a young person suffering with a mental health condition or an individual living with emotional distress. Therefore, for Youth Mental Day, we have collated some helpful resources to help you support a young person. 

1) Consult Your School’s Policy

Firstly, you should always consult your school’s pupil wellbeing policies when you have a child in your care with mental health concerns. Speak to your Headteacher, Line Manager or Designated Safeguarding Lead in the first instance for advice and next steps to ensure you are following protocol. It is important to ensure that the information/ advice you are offering pupils and or parents remains within the school’s policy and is from reputable sources. 

If your school requires support with writing a wellbeing policy then please get in touch with our team at Staff Care Services to find out how they can help. 

2) Apps

There are a wide variety of great apps available to help young people manage and improve their own mental health available online, stem4 have a range of apps to help young people with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression and self-harm. If a parent needs some help then Combined Minds is a fantastic app designed for families and friends who wish to support a loved one, it provides useful suggestions and uses a strengths based approach, focusing on the individuals strengths rather than perceived deficits. 

3) Access Online Support and Resources for Teachers

Stem4 have created a free online programme for teachers called Head Ed, the programme provides comprehensive teacher resources to safely address topics such as stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm and resilience. 

Anna Freud have also created a fantastic resource for teachers called the Classroom Wellbeing Toolkit. The toolkit has practical advice on a wide range of topics including how to support students manage every day stresses, preventing bullying and cyberbullying and how to manage anxiety and low mood. This is a must read for educators. 

4) Youth MHFA Training

HR Connect - Staff Care Services are now able to offer Youth MHFA from January 2024. This 4 session online course is fully accredited by Mental Health First Aid England and is accessible to all members of staff looking to support young people aged 8-18 with their mental health and wellbeing. Find out more about the course, how it can help your students and book your space here. 

5) Look After Yourself

Lastly and perhaps most importantly remember to look after yourself. Teaching is a demanding job and especially so if you are dealing with emotionally heavy topics in your classroom. If you don’t look after your own wellbeing or seek support if you are dealing with an upsetting situation then this will impact you, your family and even your students.

We have plenty of wellbeing resources available for free on the Kent-Teach website and don’t forget to access support lines if you need to talk things through with an impartial person. 

Support Line is available to employees in schools in Kent, contact 03000 411411 for more information and support. 

We are also proud to announce that annual Support Line customers now have access to a 24/7 confidential text support service delivered by Mental Health Innovations (SHOUT). Sitting alongside Support Line Structured Counselling Service, SHOUT provides a free, confidential 24/7 text messaging support service. It can be accessed by any member of staff or pupil in your school who is struggling to cope. SHOUT’s trained volunteers are available around the clock to support anyone who is suicidal, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. The service is anonymous and does not show up on phone bills.

If you aren’t currently a Support Line customer and would like to find out more, you can download the brochure here or call 0330 124 9996 or email info@hrconnect.org.uk

Bullying and cyberbullying can cause a variety of mental health issues with young people. If you have a student in your class who is being bullied then read this article: “How Teachers Can Help a Student That Is Being Bullied”. 

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