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10 signs a pupil may be experiencing mental health issues

It’s Children’s mental health week and we look at some useful information for our supply teaching staff to consider. Mental health in children and teenagers has increased for some years but the effects of the pandemic has impacted the numbers even more so and we are yet to see the full picture of it. The most common mental illnesses for pupils are:

  • anxiety disorders (including phobias)
  • mood disorders (e.g., depression)
  • attention disorders
  • behaviour disorders.

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 isolating behaviour or being withdrawn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so if they were a good attender, engaged in the lesson with a steady academic performance and then became very quiet, withdrawn, and lower grades, it may be worth asking them how they are.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.