Pupil mental health issues

Here are some tips for teachers to spot pupil mental health issues. It’s Children’s mental health week and we look at some useful information for our supply teaching staff to consider. You may be aware that mental health issues in children and teenagers has increased for some years. However, the effects of the pandemic has increased the numbers even more so and we are yet to see the full picture of it.

Importantly, the most common mental illnesses for pupils are:

  • anxiety disorders (including phobias)
  • mood disorders (e.g., depression)
  • attention disorders
  • behaviour disorders.
When students are experiencing mental ill health, they may feel ashamed and be secretive about it. This can leave students more isolated and prevents them from getting the help they need.However, there are some sign supply teachers c an look out for.
10 signs a pupil may be experiencing mental health issues
  1. changes in their academic performance and lower grades than normal
  2. difficulty forming friendships
  3. isolating behaviour or being withdrawn
  4. signs of being unhappy at school – being absent, having had a good attendance record previously
  5. poor concentration, difficulty retaining information
  6. distractibility
  7. inability to retain information, poor peer relationships, and
  8. aggressive behaviour, may be result in more detentions or suspension
  9. poor engagement in class, refusal to do tasks
  10. self-injuries (to find out more read our article on self-harm here)

Some of these behaviours may be apparent without mental health causes, so you may be thinking how difficult it would be to determine who has mental health issues and who does not? It is about noticing changes in an individual, so if they were a good attender, engaged in the lesson with a steady academic performance and then became very quiet, withdrawn, and lower grades, it may be worth asking them how they are. Reminding everyone in the class about resources to help their mental health and regular discussions around it, as well as where to go for help, is a good way to address it so they are more likely to access help.

To find out more, please refer to our other mental health related articles and click on the links below: