ADDRESSING MENTAL HEALTH IN SCHOOLS


"My greatest fear is that mindfulness in education grows too quickly. It would be a terrible mistake for government to force mindfulness onto the curriculum because it will end up being taught by teachers who haven't been trained properlyā€¯ - Richard Burnett, Co-founder and Director MiSP


How bad is mental health in schools?


Levels of anxiety in schools are going through the ceiling. Young Minds reports that:


  • Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health disorder
  • One in 10 children deliberately harm themselves regularly
  • Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression
  • Nearly 300,000 young people in Britain have an anxiety disorder.
  • Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14

Why should kids learn mindfulness?


It is too early to tell exactly how mindfulness might help with these things, but the early signs are encouraging. It seems to help by:


  • Reducing anxiety, depression and stress
  • Improving emotional stability and 'executive control', which means kids find it easier to control themselves and manage difficult emotions. 
  • Improving sleep
  • Helping with their attention. With phones and social media distracting them every second, kids might find it easier to concentrate. 

Two ways to get mindfulness into your school: 


1. Mindfulness in Schools Project is a charity whose aim is to bring mindfulness to young people and those who care for them. Email enquiries@mindfulnessinschools.org. MiSP offers free places to teachers in schools working in disadvantaged communities. They also run free information sessions for those who want to bring mindfulness to their schools.

2. Oxford University wants to test mindfulness on thousands of school children, but they need more schools! If you'd like your school to be involved then email liz.lord@psych.ox.ac.uk


For more information and advice, visit the Mindfulness in Schools Project website: www.mindfulnessinschools.org or visit the Mindful Living Show to hear Richard Burnett speak.


Watch this short video to find out more and try the meditation with your class or your own children.