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'Mental health should be on the curriculum' - call for children to learn about mental health

PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:18 10 October 2019

Mental Health ThinKIn
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Mental Health ThinKIn Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

Mental health education is a priority for children and teenagers and should be taught in schools.

Mental Health ThinKIn
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Mental Health ThinKIn Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

That was the key message from a summit about the mental health crisis which is gripping Norfolk and other areas of the UK.

The slow journalism venture Tortoise teamed up with the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News to host a ThinkIn to debate the topic, which has been described as "one of the great issues of our time".

It was held in the newsroom at Prospect House on Rouen Road, Norwich, and attracted mental health experts, teachers, parents and readers of both publications.

EDP and Evening News editor David Powles said: "We need to teach all generations to talk about their mental health. Parents need to be aware. It is better that people are educated."

He believed that young people should be taught life skills in dealing with mental health issues as part of the school curriculum.

"There are parts of the curriculum that are not as important as teaching young people how to deal with different things in your life," Mr Powles added.

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Teacher Hannah Love, 41, from Walberswick in Suffolk, said: "As a teacher you cannot simply teach your lesson. You are an integral part of your students' holistic wellbeing. Teaching your subject is not enough."

She added that mental health issues were very prevalent in classrooms.

"Mental health should be put onto the curriculum. There should be trained people in education to help. Children need to learn about resilience."

Shelley Hick, 37, a business analyst for Aviva, said: "I believe children grow up with social media thinking they have to be a certain way. They need to learn how to love themselves and how to look after their wellbeing."

This included focusing on diet, exercise and confidence.

Ceri Thomas, one of the editors of Tortoise, said: "We will do more work on the question of education."

Other issues raised during the debate included the need for support for families of people with mental health problems as well as the lack of money for statutory services to treat mental health patients.

For help and advice email www.mind.org.uk or www.samaritans.org

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