PSHE Association: Health and Education Committees call for compulsory PSHE education to address mental health and social media concerns
Recommendations include a call for the next Government to follow through on proposals to make personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education compulsory in all schools as part of a whole school approach, and that schools should include education on social media within PSHE lessons.
This wide-ranging inquiry gathered evidence from leading mental health bodies on how to address significant concerns about mental health, including that half of all cases of mental illness in adults start before the age of 15.
Social media is highlighted in the report as having a potentially detrimental effect on aspects of mental health such as self-esteem. The Committees therefore recommend compulsory PSHE as a means to educate children on how to assess and manage online risks and make informed choices about their social media use.
The new Children and Social Work Act gives the Education Secretary power to introduce statutory PSHE education, pending the results of an upcoming consultation.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:
“This report highlights the complexity of addressing mental health through education but also the urgent need to act. We therefore welcome the Health and Education Committees’ call on Government to commit to making PSHE compulsory in all schools and recognition of its role in supporting young people to manage the complexities of our digital world. Mental health, healthy relationships and physical health are inextricably linked and PSHE provides the framework through which they can be addressed effectively as part of a whole school approach”