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Pupils to complete mental health ‘check-ins’

The programme will be offered for free to 1,000 state secondary schools (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The programme will be offered for free to 1,000 state secondary schools (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A new initiative will see pupils complete mental health “check-ins” as part of the largest mental health programme ever introduced in schools.

The Government-backed platform from Govox Wellbeing, developed in conjunction with NHSX and King’s College London, is being delivered with the support of suicide prevention charity Papyrus, the Mental Health Foundation and local Mind organisations.

Pupils involved will complete mental health “check-ins” where they answer a series of short questions about their overall mental health, which will provide a “wellbeing score”, as well as flagging any findings of concern and highlighting pupils whose mental health is at “high risk”.

The platform hopes to address the fact that one in 14 children have tried to end their own life by the age of 17, while teenage suicide rates have risen by 45% over a decade.

The programme, which offers £5 million worth of support, will be offered for free to 1,000 state secondary schools.

Richard Lucas, founder of Govox Wellbeing, said: “Today marks a very important day for the wellbeing of pupils in our schools across the country. We truly want to make mental health support available to as many pupils in the UK as possible.

“Tight budgets should not stop them getting the help that both the data and the personal experience of so many shows is urgently needed.

“It is time to remove the stigma around talking about how we feel and move on from the ‘man up’ generation.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “This Conservative Government is putting an extra £2.3 billion into mental health services in the next year and (with) this, alongside entrepreneurs and passionate advocates of mental health like Richard Lucas, we will be able to massively improve and protect the mental health of younger generations in the UK today.”

Sharn Tomlinson, chief executive of Mind in Mid Herts, said: “There is a mental health crisis with children and young people, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is vital that new innovative approaches are taken in schools and colleges. We warmly welcome the secondary schools programme from Govox which will see tangible, practical support being offered to around a quarter of all secondary schools in the country, and we look forward to working with them as this is further rolled out in the coming years.”