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(UK) Plockington headmaster not surprised by increase in mental health issues

June 27, 2018, Plockington Post: The headteacher column with Pocklington School headmaster Mark Ronan https://www.pocklingtonpost.co.uk/news/the-headteacher-column-with-pocklington-school-headmaster-mark-ronan-1-9208503 A recent survey reporting a sharp rise in the number of young people referred by schools for mental health treatment saddened me but didn’t come as a huge surprise. We have also experienced an increase in the number of pupils speaking to staff about feeling anxious. That in itself has not caused undue concern: recognising that anxiety is part of modern life is the first step towards dealing with it effectively, and our strong pastoral care structure is well equipped to meet the need. What is behind this rise? One of the reasons put forward nationally is increasing awareness among teachers. In our school, I am pleased that the close pastoral relationship we foster with pupils means that they feel confident enough of teachers’ understanding and support to ask for help. The fact we’ve experienced an increase at exam time is fairly understandable; causes are often situational, like a family illness or bereavement. Children aged around 13-14 are also prone to heightened anxiety, which often coincides with transition through adolescence, when hormonal changes are coupled with a preoccupation with self-identity….