Children and young people

The desired outcomes for mentally healthy children and young people are:

  • increased mental wellbeing among children and young people
  • reduced prevalence of mental health problems among children and young people
  • improved quality of life among children and young people experiencing mental health problems

 Schools:

Informed by reviews of effectiveness evidence, NICE public health guidance have produced public health guidance on promoting social and emotional wellbeing in both primary and secondary education. NICE public health guidance 12: Promoting children's social and emotional wellbeing in primary education [external site] made three action recommendations each with a number of action points. They recommended that all primary schools should:

    • adopt a comprehensive 'whole school' approach to children's social and emotional well-being
    • provide a comprehensive programme to help develop children's social and emotional skills and wellbeing
    • ensure that teachers and practitioners are trained to identify the early signs of anxiety, emotional distress and behavioural problems amongst primary school children and that they discuss and agree options and an action plan with the child's parents or carer.

NHS Health Scotland considered the recommendations in the Scottish context and the NHS Health Scotland Commentary [external site] on this guidance supported the action points, subject where appropriate, to adaptation to fit Scottish organisational arrangements. Details of, and links to, relevant Scottish policies, strategies, action plans and resources are also provided in the commentary.

NICE public health guidance 20: Promoting young people's social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education [PDF: 270kb] has six recommendations each with a number of action points. These include:

    • a strategic framework to enable all secondary education establishments to adopt an organisation-wide approach to promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of young people
    • key principles and conditions concerned with, for example, demonstrating a commitment from head teachers and staff to promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of young people and providing an ethos that promotes learning, mutual respect and successful relationship
    • providing curriculum approaches that promote positive behaviours and successful relationships, and to help reduce disruptive behaviour and bullying
    • working with parents and families to promote the social and emotional wellbeing of young people and help parents and carers develop their parenting skills
    • working in partnership with young people to ensure that they can contribute to decisions that may impact on their social and emotional wellbeing
    • integrating social and emotional wellbeing within the training and continuing professional development of practitioners and relevant others involved in secondary education.

NHS Health Scotland has considered the NICE recommendations in the Scottish context and the NHS Health Scotland Scottish Perspective on this guidance [external site] supported the action points, subject, where appropriate, to adaptation to fit Scottish organisational arrangements. Details of, and links to, relevant Scottish policies, strategies, action plans and resources are also provided in the Scottish Perspective.

Other NICE public health guidance, for example, NICE public health guidance 7: Interventions in schools to prevent and reduce alcohol use among children and young people [external site] recognises the role schools have in reducing health-damaging behaviour such as substance misuse, which can have a plausible impact on emotional and social wellbeing.

The NHS Health Scotland Commentary [external site] on this guidance supported the action points, subject where appropriate, to the cited amendments and adaptations to fit Scottish organisational arrangements.

The evidence statements and original recommendations made by NICE can be found on the NICE website [external site].

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Childhood Poverty

The Childhood Poverty Strategy sets out how we will focus on and give greater momentum to our efforts to takle child poverty.

 

Recommendations

'Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future.

'Each establishment, working with partners, should take a holistic approach to promoting health and wellbeing, one that takes account of the stage of growth, development and maturity of each individual, and the social and community context.'

Curriculum for Excellence [external site]

The following list of actions from the The Mental Health of Children and Young People: A Framework for Promotion, Prevention and Care [external site] requires implementation by 2015.

Local partnerships can help in:

    • increasing participation across all aspects of a school's life to contribute improved wellbeing and a sense of belonging
    • involving children, young people, parents and carers in developing information, resources and services to support the improvement of mental health and the prevention of mental health problems
    • supporting the mental wellbeing of school staff to increase their capacity to support children and young people
    • awareness-raising training and consultation for teaching, non-teaching and out-of-school care staff about children and young people's mental health
    • on-going training and support for teaching and non-teaching staff on specific issues relating to mental health, e.g. aggressive behavior, self-harm, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and the mental health impacts of child protection issues
    • providing group support sessions on particular issues or at particular times of stress
    • supporting schools in developing and delivering activities to promote emotional literacy and peer support
    • providing confidential, accessible and non-stigmatising therapeutic input and support for staff and pupils
    • supporting parents in dealing with issues relating to adolescence
    • information provision about local support services and access, including internet resources
    • contributing to school policies particularly those to promote positive behaviour.

Resources

These resources aim to support strategic partners in the effective delivery of an evidence-informed approach to mental health improvement planning and delivery, within the context of Curriculum for Excellence.

 

Case studies

    • Healthy Minds approach in Moray [external site]: Moray is one of four areas in Scotland testing out a programme called Health and Wellbeing in Schools, to help local youngsters become healthier, increase healthcare capacity in schools and reduce health inequalities.
    • Nurturing schools [external site]: part of a series of reports that are intended to promote improvements in Scottish education by illustrating effective practice, raising current issues, and stimulating reflection and debate.

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