‘Children’s mental health: Huge rise in severe cases, BBC analysis reveals’ – iheart’s response

    by Brian Rubenstein

    The BBC recently published an article ‘Children’s mental health: Huge rise in severe cases, BBC analysis reveals’. Of course this is not news to iheart, and so we have written a response to this article. Here is some of what the BBC Education Editor drew attention to:

        • There has been a 77% rise in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis.

        • Head teachers also report a huge rise in less severe mental health issues.

        • Only the young children and teenagers with the most serious mental health problems are referred for specialist care. But schools are reporting a surge in mental health problems below this high threshold, with pupils needing extra support.

        • Almost all teachers recently surveyed described seeing an increase in emotional and mental health issues among pupils since the pandemic, including anxiety and low self-esteem.

        • Almost half of secondary schools (46%) said pupils’ mental and emotional health was the biggest challenge in helping them catch up with learning.

        • An extra £79m for improving mental health support in England was committed by the government last year … but this will only cover about a third of England’s pupils.

     So … what do we do about it? Keep banging the drum? Keep telling everyone how big the problem is? Keep allowing fires to break out all over the pace? Isn’t that just more of the same?

    For us, at iheart, the innovative mental health education charity, this just isn’t good enough. Our children are indeed suffering. And while we may be more ‘aware’ of this suffering than ever before, the problem continues to get worse. Not better.

    This is why we created iheart. To offer a solution to the problem – not greater awareness of that problem. To demonstrate that we are a charity that understands how we must turn our attention to preventing fires from starting in the first place, as much as we are concerned with putting them out.

    Our solution is providing young people with innovative, engaging and outstanding education about the true nature of our innate wellbeing. We focus on their innate wellness – not their illness. We empower our children with the knowledge that they have everything they need inside of them – not just to survive – but to thrive. And we are achieving extraordinary results.

    95% of children have reported an improvement in their mental wellbeing post-programme; 90% report an increase in their emotional resilience for dealing with adversity. We have already supported over 20,000 children in 22 countries over the past four years. Schools are clamouring for our help; to bring iheart to their students who are struggling. Teachers, school leaders and parents see the difference we are making. They know that we are offering countless young people the most precious and oftentimes elusive of qualities – hope.

    Our aim as a charity is simple: to get this message out to as many young people as we can. If you would like iheart to come and teach our ground-breaking curriculum in your school, please head here to find out more. Or if you would like to join iheart in its journey to combatting the mental health crisis, then find out how you can train to become an iheart facilitator.