Media & Research: October-December 2018

Exam stress creating 'troubled generation', says ex-civil service chief

The Guardian

27 December 2018


An “addiction to exams” is fuelling stress, anxiety and failure in schools across the UK, the former head of the civil service has said.


Gus O’Donnell said the UK was “sleepwalking into a deepening crisis” and called for the current exam system to be overhauled. Lord O’Donnell said Britain was creating a “troubled generation” and the country would pay the price of cutbacks in mental health services.


Ofsted is considering new assessment to ensure schools look after pupils’ mental health and wellbeing

The Telegraph

22 December 2018


Ofsted is considering a new assessment to ensure schools are looking after pupils’ mental health and wellbeing, The Sunday Telegraph understands.


The move would be part of a wider shake-up of the school inspection framework which will be unveiled by Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, next month.

Mental health in school: Peer Education Project (PEP)

December 2018


. . . we know that 50% of all adult mental health problems are developed by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24. The Mental Health Foundation’s Peer Education Project (PEP) is a school-based programme that aims to give young people the skills they need to safeguard their mental health and that of their peers.

Talking Mindfulness on the C.E.O. Beat

28 November 2018

The New York Times


I’ve been practising mindfulness meditation for 20 years now, sometimes writing about it for The Times. And recently, mindfulness has become increasingly popular in the business world. While a few years ago the subject was somewhat taboo to discuss at work, with sceptics dismissing meditation as a frivolous pursuit, these days, some C.E.O.s take pride in the practice.

‘It stops the scary stuff’: pupils thrive with mindfulness lessons

25 November 2018

The Observer


“We see a lot of pressure put on children’s shoulders due to family circumstances, parents losing their jobs, financial stress, anxiety about crime, fear about homelessness,” said headteacher Lewis Dinsdale. “Children internalise things, but what mindfulness has done is bring a number of quieter children to the surface – children who we’d never have known were going through such anxiety and stress at home. They haven’t wanted to speak to their mum and dad about it but it’s coming out in these sessions.”

2017 Mental Health of Children and Young People Survey - First new data for 14 years

22 November 2018


The first robust update on child mental health since the last survey in 2004. This has been published by NHS Digital. This survey series provides England’s best source of data on trends in child mental health. Major surveys of the mental health of children and young people in England were carried out in 1999, 2004, and 2017. The latest survey was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, commissioned by NHS Digital, and carried out by the National Centre for Social Research, the Office for National Statistics and Youthinmind

Article link by Katie Hunt, Chair of the DCP Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families.

NHS Digital: The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 Survey series (Date range: 01 Jan 1999 to 31 Dec 2017) provides England’s best source of data on trends in child mental health.

Why we need to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing

18 November 2018


At the turn of the 11th century, a group of religious knights trained to be able to provide basic medical treatment. Known as the Order of St John, they used their skills on the battlefields of the crusades, assisting the injured as the first port of call.


Fast forward to 1878 in Victorian Britain. Surgeon-Major Peter Shepherd delivers the first ever first aid course in the hall of a Presbyterian school in central London. The idea spreads across the globe and within a decade thousands of St John first aid certificates have been awarded over four continents. 


In an open letter to the prime minister, more than 50 executives at some of Britain’s biggest employers, including PWC, Royal Mail, WH Smith, Ford and Thames Water, call on the government to amend health and safety legislation to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing. The letter warns that mental health problems cost the economy almost £35 billion a year, with more than 15 million working days lost to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

The growth of yoga and meditation in the US since 2012 is remarkable

11 November 2018


The number of Americans who meditate has tripled. Yoga is up 55 percent.


Yoga and meditation, two ancient practices, are now officially the most popular alternative health approaches in the United States, each used by around 35 million adults.


That’s the word from two reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention out Thursday, which looked at the changes in the use of yoga, meditation, and chiropractors between 2012 and 2017. In 2017, about 14.3 percent of US adults surveyed by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics said they had done yoga in the past 12 months, while 14.2 percent had meditated, the reports show. 

5 November 2018

Prevention is better than cure – Matt Hancock's speech to IANPHI


We’re here to talk prevention. And if there’s one thing that everybody knows it’s: ‘prevention is better than cure’. When I was thinking about prevention I looked into where this comes from. I’m told it was Erasmus, the 16th century Dutch philosopher, who coined the insight. The irony was that Erasmus died suddenly from an attack of dysentery, which we now know is a wholly preventable condition. More . . .

Mindful Schools Research Quarterly (USA)

30 October 2018


How is mindfulness being implemented in schools? What are the proven benefits? How can this impact my work? Our new Research Quarterly will help you assess the field.

Research Review: The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents – a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

22 October 2018


Background: Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are an increasingly popular way of attempting to improve the behavioural, cognitive and mental health outcomes of children and adolescents, though there is a suggestion that enthusiasm has moved ahead of the evidence base. Most evaluations of MBIs are either uncontrolled or non-randomized trials. This meta-analysis aims to establish the efficacy of MBIs for children and adolescents in studies that have adopted a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) design.


Conclusions: This meta-analysis reinforces the efficacy of using MBIs for improving the mental health and wellbeing of youth as assessed using the gold standard RCT methodology. Future RCT evaluations should incorporate scaled-up definitive trial designs to further evaluate the robustness of MBIs in youth, with an embedded focus on mechanisms of action.

On My Mind
Anna Freud National Centre
15 October 2018


A new website developed by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families that provides young people with the opportunity to make informed decisions about their own mental health and wellbeing. On My Mind is an easy and safe way for young people to access clinically-approved information online. The pages have been co-produced by young people, including the Centre’s Young Champions, to help other young people. The new website has nine digital resources, seven of which have gone live with the other two following in November. These resources include:

  • the Youth Wellbeing Directory which allows you to search for free mental health services by postcode or name for those up to age 25;

  • a Jargon Buster to help young people understand medical terms in simple language;

  • films and Q&As about Receiving Support from services and Understanding Referrals;

  • Helping Someone Else offers tips and advice from young people about how to help a friend or family member;

  • Know Your Rights allows young people to be empowered to make their own informed decisions.

These new resources come at a time of increased concern about the mental health of young people with figures showing the number of adolescents reporting long-term mental health problems has increased tenfold since 1995.

Global Declaration on Achieving Equality for Mental Health in the 21st Century


The Declaration marks the commencement of a series of annual Global Ministerial Summits on Mental Health, founded by the UK and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Declaration aligns with the following policies: 


1 World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020


2 UN Human Rights Council Resolution on the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health


3 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


4 UN Sustainable Development Goals


5 WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases


6 and upholds other resolutions and commitments relating to mental health. 

Announcements on children and young people’s mental health
Prime Minister
9 Oct 2018


- Recruitment has now begun for new mental health support teams who will work with schools to ensure young people with mental health issues get the help they need – trainees will begin studying in January and join schools across England next year

- Starting in 2019, the government will publish a ‘State of the Nation’ report every year on World Mental Health Day, highlighting the trends and issues in young people’s mental well-being – the first time children’s mental health will be reported in this way, alongside their physical health and academic attainment

- The government will provide tools to help schools measure their students’ health, including their mental wellbeing – building on the commitment to make education in mental health and resilience a compulsory part of the curriculum.

Schools will be asked to monitor children's happiness and mental health

Flourishing at School (FAS) is a cloud based software solution that uses a university validated positive psychology survey to assess the degree to which staff and pupils have developed the "pillars" of good mental health and provide interventions.

Watch videos from the Global Mental Health Summit

The Lancet Commission on global mental health and sustainable development

A decade on from the 2007 Lancet Series on global mental health, which sought to transform the way policy makers thought about global health, a Lancet Commission aims to seize the opportunity offered by the Sustainable Development Goals to consider future directions for global mental health. The Commission proposes that the global mental agenda should be expanded from a focus on reducing the treatment gap to improving the mental health of whole populations and reducing the global burden of mental disorders by addressing gaps in prevention and quality of care. The Commission outlines a blueprint for action to promote mental wellbeing, prevent mental health problems, and enable recovery from mental disorders.

Children & Young People’s Mental Health in the Digital Age - Shaping the Future



On the first day of the inaugural Global Mental Health Summit held in London on 9-10 October the OECD hosted the ‘Children, young people and the now generation’ workshop, This recognised the significant consequences of mental ill health and psycho-social disability can have children and young people – impacting upon their development, contributing to poorer educational outcomes, higher rates of unemployment, and poorer physical health.


Download PDF


New data on young people’s mental health now not ready until November
Arbor - Alix Robertson
5 Oct 2018


Schools will have to wait until the end of November to see brand new government data on the mental health of young people – information which hasn’t been updated for 14 years. The last research into the prevalence of mental health problems in children and young people in the UK was carried out in 2004 by the Office for National Statistics. Schools Week was informed in June by NHS Digital that new data would finally come out in October, but today a spokesperson confirmed that this information was incorrect, and the data will not be revealed for another month.