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Wales starts a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health
The Welsh Government has embarked on a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health to ensure that it becomes central to the way schools work and will touch on many different aspects of school life.
As part of the ‘whole school’ approach, the school ethos will support the broader mental health and wellbeing of learners, which in turn will help to prevent other issues from developing or escalating, including mental health issues.
A Joint Ministerial Task and Finish Group is being set up to accelerate work on this approach.
Schools have a clear role in supporting prevention and helping with early intervention. It will look at the new curriculum being developed and consider issues such as staff training.
The new group will see how different activities already taking place can be brought together; highlight any gaps in provision; and ensure energy and resources are targeted so they can have maximum benefit.
The work of the group is in response to and, will be informed by, the report by the National Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee, Mind over Matter, which called for emotional and mental wellbeing and resilience to be a stated national priority and contained recommendations for how this could be taken forward.
The group will be jointly chaired by the two Cabinet Secretaries and will bring together those working in education and health and the wider public and third sectors.
A multi-agency and multi-profession workshophas taken place to explore what a ‘whole school approach’ could involve and where gaps in current support exist. Findings from the workshop will further inform the work of the task and finish group.
Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams said: “The emotional and mental health of our young people is paramount and that’s why we want to make sure they are fully supported - through each stage of their education – to be emotionally and mentally resilient, confident and, above all, happy.
“Work is already underway to provide dedicated professional support to schools, including our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) pilot, but what we’re talking about here is an approach that goes right across the school, connects activities already taking place and identifies where we can go further and faster.
“We want to schools to become exemplary in the way they promote mental health and wellbeing and this group is just the beginning of a process that will take us to that point.”