Health education is to be made compulsory in all schools in England. The move came following growing concerns about mental health problems among young people. Children will be taught how to build mental resilience as well as how to recognise when their peers are struggling with mental health issues.
In fact, in 2017, more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for mental health education to be made compulsory in primary and secondary schools. The petition highlighted that there had been a large rise in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm.
The move has been broadly welcomed by campaigners who called for personal, social and health education lessons to be made compulsory to tackle the rise in mental health issues. Good physical and mental health is at the heart of ensuring young people are ready for the adult world, and these compulsory lessons will become the tools they need to be ready to thrive when they leave school. In addition, pupils will also be taught the benefits of healthy eating and keeping fit. Topics like consent, keeping children safe online and LGBT+ issues will also be covered.
However, the new compulsory lessons will only be implemented in all schools in 2020. This has been criticised by some, including Almudena Lara, head of policy and public affairs at the NSPCC who said that “by then, up to 1.4 million children will have started primary school without a requirement for clear age appropriate lessons on consent, appropriate boundaries, healthy relationships and how to treat others”.
Reading this article, I wonder if this is the sign of the time. I still remember the halcyon days of yore when we will rush out of school after dismissal and engage in all sorts of games with neighbourhood friends. I don’t recall any of us having stress or being taught how to monitor and deal with our own mental health. However, this seems to be the new norm for children and young people today who cope with stress and mental health issues on a daily basis.
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