Children’s Mental Health Week Special, part 1

In recognition and support of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week, we are sharing a two-part series, highlighting some examples of work we have come across that supports children with mental health needs and issues.

A recent survey* of children and young people in England found that 1 in 10 children aged 5 to 10 years old and 1 in 7 of those aged 11 to 16 years old had some form of mental health condition.

Throughout our work in schools, we come across many individuals who are invested in the mental health and well-being of children. In this post, we have chosen to highlight the work of Michelle Wilson, a member of a county Medical Needs team, who supports pupils unable to attend school due to illness.

Michelle was attracted to the role as it made a real difference to the lives of both children and their families. Here, she explains her work with School Phobia.

What is School Phobia?

“Most of the pupils I work with have school phobia. This is when a child refuses to go to school, due to fear and anxiety. The child may feel extreme distress about the work, relationships and expectations placed upon them either by themselves, parents or teachers.

“School phobia, or school refusal, can present itself in many ways such as stomach aches, headaches, panic attacks and even self-harm if made to go to school.

“My role usually starts in the family home, gaining the trust of the child. Work is supplied and marked by the school. We also offer an e-learning service which enables pupils to study a subject of their choice for six hours a week. We aim to reintegrate a child back into school as soon and as swiftly as possible; sometimes this is simply not feasible and can be due to a number of factors, the most common is a lack of intervention or mental health provision due to long waiting times.”

How can Schools help their pupils?

Michelle says, “Schools can help in many ways. For example, they can offer later starts, earlier finishes, exit cards, early lunch passes, safe havens and trusted adults known to the child. It is vitally important that pupils, parents and teachers work together to address the problem as early as possible. The child will need support and reassurance from both home and school.

“It is imperative that we listen to their fears and respect their feelings throughout the process. It is our job as parents and professionals to support these young people through these difficult and testing times.”


Our well-being review evaluates the policies and procedures that your school has in place and will provide a report of strengths, areas for development and an action plan to address any issues identified. Please contact us today if you would like to discuss further.

Look out for part-two of our special Children’s Mental Health Week series later this week.


Helpful Resources


Children’s Mental Health Week


* Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 





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