Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

May 15 / Lily Wilson
Mental health used to be a subject that was only ever talked about in whispers - resigned to the shadows and shrouded in shame.

Thankfully, we now understand how important it is to discuss our mental health, and people are now more comfortable asking for help when they need it. 

Mental Health Week is a great time to reflect and push the positive message surrounding mental health to ensure it continues to grow in the right direction.

#MentalhealthWeek #MentalHealthWeek2024 #MomentsforMovement

Mental health in education

We now know that being open and honest in discussions around mental health is the best way to remove the stigma that so many used to feel around the struggles that they faced.

As educators, it’s vital that we teach students about mental health and ensure that we open healthy lines of communication so that we can continue to dispel the myths and falsehoods that surround the topic.

Communication is one of the most powerful ways in which we can support our students in their journey to be mentally healthy and make sure they are empowered to ask for help when they need it.  

Educating students

One in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021, a huge increase from one in nine in 2017. That’s five children in every classroom according to

There are many ways in which we can teach our students about mental health and facilitate discussions.

The PSHE curriculum is a great place to start, as these lessons can be used  to teach students about healthy coping mechanisms, what healthy relationships look like, and provide a non-judgmental space in which they can discuss their feelings, thoughts, and opinions.

By giving students the vocabulary they need to be able to talk about how they are feeling, they are empowered, enabling them to put words to their emotions and to be able to identify when they need help and to ask for it.

Students can be taught what a growth mindset is and foster that in them through our praise of their effort, teaching them how to be great learners and building their confidence through understanding that mistakes are a thing to be celebrated rather than something they should worry, fret, or stress about.

We can also use these lessons to teach them about diversity and inclusion, promoting a sense of belonging and community amongst them, and creating opportunities for them to work together via group projects and peer support activities.  

Moving more for mental health

The theme for Mental Health Week 2024 is 'Movement: Moving more for mental health'.

Physical activity, exercise and movement is one of the most useful ways to improve mental health and help to maintain a positive outlook. The Mental Health Foundation says that 'moving more can increase your energy, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your self-esteem'. 

Throughout the education journey there are loads of opportunities for students to be more active and move more. 

Moments for movement can be found in every single school day. When the class first gets in to the classroom in the morning, could you find 5 minutes for a shake out or a jog on the spot?

Be creative! Get your students moving! It will have a brilliant impact on their mental health if it is a regular thing.

You can read more about Movement and Mental Health Week here.

Learning more about mental health

For professional educators to be truly aware of all the factors that play into mental health, and the ways in which they can support students - both on an individual and classroom level, they need to know and understand what mental health is, what it looks like, how it can present, and the impact that it can have on our students.

Only once all these factors are fully understood can educators then understand how to put supportive measures into practice and create an environment that is safe, supportive, and mentally healthy.

A straightforward way of gaining this knowledge is by completing Prospero Learning’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness. This course has been carefully created by Education Experts to ensure it includes all of the most important aspects of mental health support.

The course provides understanding, knowledge, and tools to better understand the children with which they work with and to be able to support them in accessing support when they need it.

By the end of the course, educators will have key strategies that they can use in the classroom and an awareness of the signs to look out for so that they can seek further professional mental health support for children who may be in need.

This Mental Health Week, be part of the continuing movement towards removing the stigma from mental health and empowering children and young people to be able to know, understand, and discuss their emotions so that they can get the support they need.