A former head teacher, Peter Tait, has warned that schools are letting young people down by focusing more on academic success and ignoring mental health issues they face, with more and more young people reporting mental health issues.
Mr Tait, formerly of Sherborne Preparatory School in Dorset, said that success academically was encouraged to the harm of the mental well-being of students, at some schools.
Performances were driven by “anxiety and fear of failure” at schools, he wrote in his article for the Telegraph.
The Girl Guides recently carried out a survey looking into mental health, and discovered that 46 per cent of girls between the ages of 11 and 21 responded that they required help with mental health issues, and Mr Tait pointed to the rise of social media, as well as academic pressure, as the reason.
According to Mr Tait, schools needed to start taking responsibility and help address the problems that are present in school communities. Some schools have been working to ensure good well-being is a part of education, but there are still many denying mental health issues are a problem.
“We need to looks at better ways of addressing the causes rather than waiting to deal with the consequences,” he wrote. “A brave few have even acknowledged the problems existing in their own school communities, which is commendable, and the first step to involving the whole school community in finding solutions.”
“Schools that have not been averse to using anxiety – however unwittingly – and fear of failure to drive performance, urgently need to review their practice and ethos,” he continued.