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In brief: Calls for better behaviour management in schools to protect pupils' mental health

Image of pupils raising their hands
Jaime Lopes | Unsplash

News round-up by Conor D'Andrade

Youth mental health charity calls for improved behaviour management in schools

The Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition published the Behaviour and Mental Health in Schools report this week, outlining the findings of a year-long inquiry.

The inquiry involved input from young people, parents, carers, and professionals through an online survey and evidence sessions.

It aimed to investigate the relationship between behaviour and mental health in schools, assess the impact of behavioural policies on students, and propose improvements to the approach towards behaviour and mental health in educational settings.

According to the report, punitive approaches to behaviour management in schools have a detrimental effect on the mental health of children and young people.

While it acknowledges the importance of having ‘clear expectations and boundaries’, it emphasises the need for a fundamental shift in the way behaviour is understood and addressed in schools.

The recommendations put forward in the report call for collaborative efforts from the national government, local systems, and schools to bring about the necessary changes.

The report highlights the importance of creating effective support systems for children, young people, and their families, and outlines specific actions that can be taken at various levels to achieve this goal.

Number of sick days due to mental health among Scottish Government staff has risen over 5 years

New figures reveal a significant increase in the number of work days lost to mental health among the Scottish Government's workforce over the past five years.

The findings, acquired via a Freedom of Information Act request, show that, in 2022, civil servants took 3,936 sick days specifically attributed to "mental disorders," compared with 2,899 in 2018.

The statistics also indicate a general rise in overall sick days taken by officials, with a total of 71,031 sick days recorded in 2022, compared with 45,961 in 2018.

The number of staff with sickness absences has followed a similar trend, increasing from 4,080 in 2018 to 4,721 in 2019, dropping during lockdown to 3,878, and then rising again to 4,749 in 2021 and 6,673 in 2022.

These figures highlight the growing impact of mental health issues on the workforce within the Scottish Government and reflect a general trend among the UK workforce.

Patients with rare brain tumour are being overlooked by mental health services – study

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Essex has revealed that patients suffering from a rare brain tumour are facing challenges in accessing appropriate mental health support.

The study focused on adult-onset craniopharyngioma – a type of tumour that commonly affects individuals between the ages of 50 and 74, but can occur in anyone over 18.

The research highlighted that survivors of this rare brain tumour – one neurosurgeon described as ‘about the most horrible condition I look after’ – often struggle to access therapy and counselling services that are readily available for other serious illnesses, and a lack of specialised support tailored to the unique mental health needs of these patients.

The study found that depression and anxiety were highly prevalent among patients, with many experiencing difficulties in regulating their emotions.

They described instances of easily triggered crying or feeling anger without reason.

While physical symptoms such as fatigue and weight gain were present, it was the impact of these symptoms on patients' social lives and overall mental well-being that caused significant concern.

“We understand that patients suffer a poorer quality of life," said lead researcher Dr Daughters, "but until now, we haven't actually asked patients, and the people who treat them, how the tumour has impacted their lives outside of hospital.

“What we learned is that the impact can be devastating and, importantly, this study shows they're not receiving the psychological support they need.”

1 in 20 GPs accessing NHS mental health service

New data reveals that 5.3% of GPs in England are accessing mental health services through NHS Practitioner Health.

According to the CEO, Lucy Warner, around 2,400 GPs are currently on their caseload, out of a total of 45,637 GPs across the country.

The data also indicates that older GPs and partners are now more heavily represented in these mental health services compared with previous years.

When the service was launched nationwide in 2016, it was intended to cater to between 0.5% and 1% of GPs.

However, the percentage of GPs seeking treatment through the service rose to 2% just before the pandemic, which was in line with similar services globally.

Since 2020, there has been a significant growth in GPs accessing mental health support, with the figure now standing at around 5%, compared with an average of 4.5% across all doctor specialities.

Study finds that LGB adults are at greater risk of self-harm and suicidal thoughts

A new study involving 10,000 people has revealed that lesbian and gay individuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexual individuals to experience suicidal thoughts.

Additionally, it was found that lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals were significantly more likely to engage in self-harm.

Factors such as depression, anxiety, and experiences of discrimination or bullying were identified as contributing to these heightened risks.

Notably, one in five lesbian or gay adults reported experiencing homophobic discrimination within the past year.

Even after accounting for the increased risk of depression and anxiety, the study found that lesbian and gay adults were still more than twice as likely as straight adults to have experienced suicidal thoughts in the past year.

The results, analysed over a seven-year period, did not show any improvement during the study.

Survey reveals high production costs impacting farmers’ mental health

According to a survey conducted by the National Farmers' Union (NFU), more than two-thirds of farmers believe that their mental health has been adversely affected by the increasing production costs in the agricultural industry.

The survey reveals that prices for essential agricultural inputs such as fuel, energy, fertilisers, and animal feed have risen due to global disruptions over the past 18 months, including the conflict in Ukraine.

The survey findings indicate that 68% of farmers feel that these rising costs have had a negative impact on their mental well-being.

Additionally, 61% of respondents attribute poor mental health to perceived unfairness in the supply chain, while nearly 50% cited rural crime as a contributing factor.

The findings highlight the need for support systems and resources to address these issues and provide farmers with the necessary assistance to manage their mental well-being effectively.


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