Mental Health and Wellbeing
Emotional Health and Wellbeing
Emotional wellbeing is just as important as students’ physical health. Adolescence is a time where young people are developing and changing physically but also their emotional identity and personality are maturing.
Young people need to understand mental health and how their own decision-making and social connections can impact their wellbeing. As well as understanding the positive and negative experiences in their life they need to understand the importance of sleep and exercise to their mental health and wellbeing.
It is important that young people share their thoughts and feelings and seek support when they feel they need it.
There are a number of different factors which can influence a young person’s mental health. A lot of these can be associated with the stresses of being a teenager and the changes they may be going through. Understanding how to handle issues such as school and peer pressures, body image and sexual identity can be influential on their emotional health and wellbeing. The apprehensions faced by young people can challenge their ability to understand and manage their anxiety and coping mechanisms.
Further information on wellbeing, mental health and support for young people can be found on these websites:
The Internet and Wellbeing
The internet can be a significant influence on a teenager’s life. It is a central factor of a young person’s daily routine, the perceptions of what they see and who they communicate with can shape their own actions and identity.
This influence can be overwhelming for parents and carers. Understanding the impact and role the internet has on young people is important, and it also important to understand when technology and the internet may be having a detrimental effect on their life.
It is important that all young people have a balanced screen time. It can sometimes seem that a young person’s life revolves around technology and time spent on devices. The internet can provide an engaging and exciting experience and is a platform for developing relationships with others. It is also a fantastic learning tool, and the internet can broaden a student’s learning and understanding of the world and issues around them. In contrast, the internet can also be a breeding ground for negative, inappropriate relationships.
Young people’s relationship with the internet must be balanced and based on a positive correlation between their screen time and wellbeing. They must understand the influence it can have on their emotions, self-esteem and expression. Young people should be able to distinguish reality from their browsing experiences and remember that they have other positive relationships and support networks. It is important that they don’t isolate themselves away from family and friends due to time spent online.
For young people getting a good night’s sleep and sufficient rest is crucial to their mental health and wellbeing. Parents and carers should consider the impact of a poor sleep pattern on a young person’s mood, ability to manage stressful situations and performance in school. Access to the internet and communication with friends throughout the night can have a damaging influence on sleep. This is also a time when a young person’s behaviour online in unmonitored and could place them at risk of inappropriate relationships with strangers or access to unsuitable content. Parents and carers may consider agreeing a mobile phone curfew, this may limit the amount of time young people are using their phone at night.
Body Image and Technology
Body image concerns are how individuals may feel about themselves physically. Everybody at some time may worry about how they look or what our others may think of our bodies.
This may be influenced by being exposed to unrealistic ‘ideal’ bodies which are seen on TV, film and the internet. The increase in photo sharing, selfies and the value placed on likes/feedback has facilitated the value of the ideal body which can be unrealistic and harmful to how we feel.
Young people can obsessively take pictures of themselves or ‘selfies’ which they share online or on phones for others to see. This potentially exposes them to wellbeing issues related to a lack of response and interest from others or hurtful comments received.
More information on this can be found by watching the video on this website:
Self-harm is any behaviour which may result in a person harming their body through their own actions; examples of this include self-cutting, swallowing objects/overdose or other risk-taking behaviour. The reasons why a young person may self-harm can be complex. Sometimes these reasons may not be fully understood by the individual, it is important that appropriate support is put in place to gain an understanding of the situation.
Unfortunately, students can be exposed to internet sites which normalise this behaviour resulting in young people believing this is an appropriate way to manage their emotions. These sites can often be accounts on social media platforms. This increase in young people’s exposure to negative forms of user-generated content, alongside the rise in self-harming among children, highlights the need to explore and talk about the impact self-harm content online has on young people.
Parents and carers who are concerned about this should contact the school for support and also their GP. It is important that children understand that there are other ways to help with anxiety and stress.
More information can be found on the sites below:
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. This includes online threats and mean, aggressive and rude messages to others.
Cyberbullying may also include making internet profiles with the intention to cause ridicule and also posting personal information, pictures or videos designed to hurt or embarrass someone else.
Students who feel threatened, upset or intimidated by online bullies should speak to parents/carers, teaching staff or the police. Screen shots of the contact made by the person or people bullying is good evidence to support any reports which are made.
More information and advice on how to mange all forms of bullying can be found on the sites below: