BPS welcomes the 2016 Children's Mental Health Week

The British Psychological Society welcomes Children’s Mental Health Week (8 to 15 February) and the opportunities it provides to highlight the importance of prevention of and early intervention with children experiencing psychological difficulties.

The theme of Children's Mental Health Week is 'building resilience' and teaching children to 'bounce forward' from life's challenges. The campaign, launched by children’s charity Place2Be, coincides with the publication of their survey of head teachers that found two thirds of all primary schools in England do not have a counsellor in their schools.

The BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families have issued a full statement to welcome the week. Below is an extract:

Resilience can be defined as successful adaptation in the presence of adversity and it is an ongoing and interactive process between the child and the risk or protective factors in their environment. It is not a set of stable or innate characteristics and will be altered by changes in the child’s world and in the child as they develop and grow. As psychologists we are concerned that scientific evidence on resilience is increasingly confused with the concept of character building.

We welcome the emphasis on increasing access to high quality psychological support in schools. This is often described as provision of school counselling but counselling, particularly for an individual child or young person, is only one of the types of intervention that needs to be available. It is vital that good quality psychological assessment is available in schools. This will lead to a good formulation of what intervention is needed in a particular case and the best evidence based treatment at the right level of specialist help.

There is increasing evidence about the direct impact of social and economic factors like poverty and deprivation, poor and insecure housing and social isolation on families and on the child’s psychological development as well as the impact of maltreatment and trauma. It is vital that work with the individual child or young person is not done in isolation and does not detract from efforts to change the child’s circumstances.

Read the full CYPF statement on this website.

There is more detailed information available on understanding psychological wellbeing in children and young people in the Child and Family Clinical Psychology Review “ What good looks like in psychological services for children, young people and their families” (free to download from the BPSShop). This contains information on what is needed to provide good quality psychological interventions in schools together with practical examples.