Over half of parents in Scotland are concerned about the mental health of their children, new research has found.

A survey found that 53 per cent of parents are concerned about kids' wellbeing and mental resilience, with 80% believing schools should include mental resilience and emotional wellbeing as part of the core curriculum.

However, 76% of teachers surveyed said they lacked the time while a third said they felt they did not have the training required.

Overall, parents in Scotland said that schools should be better equipped, with 81% believing they should do more to help children prepare for the mental and emotional challenges of life.

Jo Mitchinson, Head of PSHCE (personal, social, health & citizenship education) at Monk’s Walk School in Hertfordshire, England said: “Students are turning to teachers for support and guidance with their mental health in increasing numbers. At the same time specialist services are struggling to cope with demand.

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"Something has to change. Staff in schools are ideally placed to notice changes in young people and parents frequently report concerns to teachers prior to seeking professional support. Teachers want to help but they need the skills and resources to confidently teach mental resilience and emotional well-being. We are lucky at Monk’s Walk because we do have regular lessons as part of the curriculum, and so able to teach students how to develop the mental resilience they need.”

The survey was carried out by charity Bounce Forward as it enters a multi-year funding partnership with Britvic.

It saw 2,000 parents with children at primary or secondary school take part in on online questionnaire, along with 326 teachers of children at primary or secondary schools.

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As part of the partnership, Britvic employees have nominated almost 150 schools in their communities to receive fully funded support from Bounce Forward. The funding will provide the schools and their teachers with high quality training and equip them with evidence-based teaching and learning resources.

Lucy Bailey, CEO & Founder of Bounce Forward, said: “I know teachers recognise the need to teach mental resilience and emotional wellbeing, but the reality is that this type of teaching and learning is not given the space in the curriculum that it deserves. Parents and students are looking to the classroom for advice as they struggle in the face of unprecedented mental health challenges, and the disruption to learning and life chances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The question now is: can we afford to ignore the need for mental health education any longer?

“Now more than ever we need to build psychological fitness in children, young people and the adults around them to ensure a thriving society that can navigate the 21st century.

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"Through our partnership with Britvic, we can shift the narrative from a ‘mental health crisis’ to one of empowerment for the next generation by supporting schools across the nation to better prepare young people with the mental and emotional agility they need to lead fulfilling and healthy lives.”

Kathryn Partridge, Britvic group corporate affairs director, said: “Through our new charity partnership, Britvic is supporting Bounce Forward to help more children build their psychological fitness, and help ignite the conversation about the importance of children’s mental resilience.

“Britvic is committed to having a positive impact on the communities in which we operate through our Healthier People, Healthier Planet sustainable business programme. We have long supported opportunities for young people through our award-winning early careers programmes, including our apprenticeships, our support for 18-24-year-olds through the Government’s Kickstart scheme, and our brand partnership with The Princes Trust.

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"We are delighted to have begun our partnership with Bounce Forward and are excited to support this important cause.”

Bounce Forward operates throughout the UK, and has provided services for The Suthers School in Newark.

Weekly personal development lessons are timetabled to combine the statutory elements of the core curriculum – Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education – with an emphasis on building students’ resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Jyoti Pettit, Head of Personal Development, The Suthers School, said: “After just one term, we have already seen a positive impact; improved self-awareness and a greater level of social intelligence means students get on better and can already apply their learning to their experiences in school… I have had a lot of students stay behind after the lesson wanting to let me know that the lessons are really helping them.”