Mental Health and Behaviour at School

One in seven children and young people aged between 5 and 16 have a mental health need. It’s not uncommon and schools have a number of strategies in place to support your child or young person. It may be a short term issue or one that requires more support from a number of agencies

You may have concerns or know of a situation that may cause your child or young person to be upset or emotional at school. It would be very useful to talk to the school about it (such as a serious illness within the family, a family separation etc).

The school then would be more aware of why your child or young person is reacting in an unusual way. They will be better prepared to support them during that period.

A teacher isn’t a mental health professional and can’t diagnose a problem. But they can spot signs of changes in their student’s behaviour which may mean they need extra help.

This could include the following behaviour:

  • Being disruptive
  • Being anxious or worried
  • Being quieter than usual
  • Seeming depressed or withdrawn

It could be caused by a sudden change in their personal situation or a short term issue that they need to work out. Something like worrying about an exam or problems with a bully.

What happens when a student needs help

The teacher may speak with the student first to find out what the problem is and where it is (at home, in school or at a club or activity) so that they can sort it out.

If the problem is serious they’ll probably suggest the student sees the school counselling service. They will try to find a solution and may contact the student’s family.

If a student’s mental health is at obvious risk, they or their family should get medical advice. This should be from the family doctor as soon as possible.