The Challenge

What is Mental Wellbeing?

A state of well-being in which the individual realises his or own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community. The best children’s Mental Wellbeing strategy is one that prevents issues from arising in the first place. Early intervention is central to the Buddy Bench approach.

A mental health risk factor is an internal or external condition that increases the likelihood of a mental health problem. In the school setting mental health risk factors include:

• disengagement, absenteeism, isolation and alienation • bullying and relationship difficulties • low academic achievement • violence/aggression • learning disabilities • cultural differences • low self-esteem • stressful life events • difficult school transitions • poor connection between family and school • harsh and inconsistent discipline

Even though we can’t always protect our children from stress but we can teach them the lifelong skills to cope with life’s challenges. It is normal for children to experience some stress throughout childhood and adolescence. Many children may experience heightened stress related to peer pressure, family conflict, transition from primary to high school, increased demands of study, performance expectations and body image. According to the R.C.S.I., 1 in 6 young people aged 11-13 experience some kind of mental health challenge, while high levels of anxiety affect up to 20% of children and young teenagers.

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