World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th October every year, with the objective of raising awareness of mental health ussies around the world, and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.
I spoke in a debate on Wednesday in the Senedd about the importance of schools in helping resolve some of the issues that children encounter in regards to mental health problems.
Welsh Government figures state that self harm among young people has reached a five-year high, with more than 1,500 young people between 10 and 19 treated in Welsh hospitals for harming themselves. We also know that children are using self-harm as a way of trying to deal with very difficult emotional states. Often children will misinterpret events that adults would regard as trivial and unimportant, but without having the ability to discuss them properly with an adult, will become major issues in the child's mind.
I highlighted the fact that the Public Policy Institute for Wales report that was published in February focused on the fact that pupils supported by the pupil deprivation grant are at a greater risk of mental health problems than other pupils.
Roots of Empathy is a programme ran by Action for Children in Llanedeyrn Primary School in my constituency. This is a programme that looks to significantly decrease aggressive behaviour and improve empthay and recognition of needs and emotions.
At Cathays High School, we have mindfulness training and restorative practices, which have also ensured the building of emotional resilience in our young people for later life. I think that it is clear from the PPI report and other reports that it has to be a systematic, whole-school approach to emotional health, well-being and resilience. It can't just be in a single lesson; it has got to be something that has carried our across the school, and I think that then it does support children who are having unhappy times elsewhere to at least develop the emotional resilience to overcome them.