Let’s talk… children and mental health

surviving or thriving

Recently, I have been looking more and more into mental health and schools within the UK as a result of discussions that have risen during my time studying for my degree in childhood studies. The other week, we were discussing issues surrounding SATS, and all agreed that they created unnecessary stress for the children having to face these tests at such a young age. As a result of having anxiety, I feel that it is partly my duty in which to write about these issues and concerns in order to try and reduce or at least help these children, who at such a young age, are also beginning to develop mental health issues such as anxiety as a result of the schooling system currently in the UK.

SATS currently are for those children at the end of year two and year six. This means that children who are 7 and 11 years old are sitting tests in strict exam conditions. These children are faced with immense pressure as their teachers push them to reach their targets, as well as to ensure that the school succeeds as a whole also. Although many believe that SATS are held for the children’s benefit, it is more for the schools in order to see how well they are doing and to see where they stand in the league tables at the end of each year.

3 children in every class

As someone who is 21 years of age, studying a degree in childhood studies, aspiring to be a primary school teacher, and also suffering from anxiety, it appals me at the statistics that I have found regarding children and mental health. The amount of children being diagnosed with mental health problems are increasing, which in some ways is a good thing as at least it is being more widely recognised. However, for those children who are diagnosed, there are still many more suffering in silence who are afraid to speak up as a result of the stigma related to mental health. Therefore many children will act as if they are fine, but will often start to isolate themselves, refuse to go to extra curricula activities, and eventually will make up excuses to not go to school at all.

It has been around a year since I began to seek help in regards to my anxiety, and I can now say that I finally feel as if I am getting somewhere. When I first came to terms with my anxiety and started to be realistic about getting help in overcoming and managing it, I honestly did not think there was any possibility of it getting any better as everything I did or tried just seemed to backfire on me. However, I have learnt that perseverance is key in overcoming and learning to control anxiety, which i feel will be the same for most mental health issues. I strongly dislike relating to mental health as being ‘issues’ or ‘problems’, but I also do not know what else to call them. Personally I do not think mental health such as anxiety should be seen as an issue or a problem, as it is just part of someone that they are unable to change. Everyone has their own ‘problems’ and these ‘problems’ for some people are in regards to their mental health.

Although I link these issues towards the UK, I do also understand and am very aware that this is an issue that countries all over the world are having, and therefore also hope that this message is spread all over the world.

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