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Priory experts to help schools with mental health of pupils

Experts from Priory Group will use their knowledge of child mental health at a course for leading UK prep schools to advise on issues affecting the mental wellbeing of schoolchildren.

Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent School is a day-long event taking place this month on March 20th, and is aimed at helping teachers and staff deliver high quality mental health support for children.

The course will also take a look at how schools fit in with the overall mental health landscape in the UK, emphasising the important part that education can play in supporting wider communities.

Practical advice and social media influence  

Workshop topics on the day will include practical advice and guidance on how to manage difficult behaviour of pupils in the classroom.

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of approaching mental health problems of children in schools is ensuring a clear line of communication with parents.

Priory’s experts will offer advice to teachers, school nurses and other support staff on how best to discuss core mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and self-harming towards determining the next steps.

Social media will be highlighted as a key influence impacting a child’s mental health, with discussion also including overseeing the use of social networking in both prep and pre-prep aged children.

With social media drastically changing the way children and teens interact with each other and the wider world, advice on issues such as cyberbullying and a growing obsession with self-image is becoming increasingly vital.

Promoting positive mental health in 4-13 year-olds     

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, Priory Group Associate Director, and Clinical Director of the Priory’s Wellbeing Centres, said:

“We are delighted to be working closely with the Independent Association of Prep Schools again and to have a forum dedicated to discussing so many important issues that we know play a huge part in preventing young people from developing serious mental health conditions”

The event further aims to promote awareness of positive mental health for all young people and helping ensure those who are involved in their day-to-day lives are in the best position to prepare them for the often turbulent teenage years.

As part of this strategy, psychiatrists and psychologists from Priory’s UK-wide network of hospitals and clinics regularly visit schools to work with them on themes such as emotional resilience to events relating to family, friends or school, as well as how to manage stress.

The growing influence of technology and the unique language surrounding social media can make it more difficult than ever for teachers to spot the warning signs of mental health problems in children.

Priory staff regularly stresses the importance of early diagnosis and intervention in helping combat problems before they become more serious mental health concerns.

Survey results reveal need for improvement in mental health support in education

A recent survey to mark Children's Mental Health Week revealed that 44% of head teachers said knowing what type of support was needed was a barrier to them providing mental health support for pupils.

A related concern was highlighted by the charity, Place2Be, who surveyed over 1,000 counsellors and psychotherapists currently working in schools, with 34% of respondents claiming that providing services in schools was difficult.

These survey results make it clear that a functional mental health support network across all schools in the UK is required for more effective diagnosis, specialist care, and treatment for children who need it most.

The forthcoming event looks to help improve these statistics. Priory has been collating feedback on real-world scenarios in classroom relating to mental health. This will form the basis of the practical workshops, focusing on understanding behaviours, and ‘top tips’ for managing these in schools. 

Priory’s Course Director, Sabrina Cator, a Priory Placement Specialist said: “As Priory offer a range of psycho-educational seminars, clinical supervision, psychiatric assessments and a wide variety of therapeutic support across the country, we are well placed to provide schools with the skills and confidence to deal with mental health and wellbeing for staff, parents and young people.”

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For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding young people's mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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