Mental health science campaign calls for reform as thousands receive results

As 15 and 16 year olds across the country receive their GCSE results, campaigners have called for the national curriculum to be updated to increase young people’s understanding of the scientific foundations underpinning mental health

The Teach Mental Health Science campaign is calling for the UK Government to include the science of mental health as part of the national science curriculum, up to and including Key Stage 4 (and equivalents). 

Jo Aidroos, co-chair of Teach Mental Health Science, said: “This year’s GCSE results are a credit to the pupils, parents and teachers who have battled huge obstacles put in their way by the pandemic at a critical stage in their education. 

 “The past year has been challenging for everyone, but perhaps especially for young people in school. The isolation of the pandemic and the adjustment to online learning has highlighted just how important mental health and wellbeing are for young people across the UK. 

“It’s also been a time of significant innovation and adaptation. That is why now is the time to put mental health on par with physical health in secondary school science classrooms. In future years we hope young people are able to demonstrate their knowledge of the biology, psychology and social influences behind mental health, as well as the links between physical and mental health. 

“All of this builds resilience in our young people as they develop future skills to thrive in our rapidly changing society and working world.

Research commissioned by EY for the campaign found that over four-fifths (84%) of the general public and nearly nine-in-ten (88%) secondary school teachers are supportive of teaching secondary school students about the science of mental health.

The campaign is being backed by Sir Anthony Seldon (former vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham) and Natasha Devon (writer, broadcaster and mental health campaigner), and is building the growing support.

Aditya Sahu, founder and co-chair of Teach Mental Health Science, added: “We are calling on educators, government officials and influencers to join us in our efforts to close this important gap in the science curriculum, the scientific foundations underpinning mental health.  This will support the UK in develop a world-leading science education system and improve the lives of young people for generations to come.”

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