The Youth Sport Trust has welcomed the joint report on children and young people’s mental health, but encourages the Government to look more towards preventative measures, rather than cures, if there is a serious ambition to improving young people’s wellbeing.
Having established preventative measures as key components of both Future in Mind and the NHS’s Five Year Forward View For Mental Health, it is now crucial that the Government supports schools to maximise the education sector’s contribution to preventing the onset on mental health issues in young people. With the report citing an increased focus on academic results as being a main contributor to stress and anxiety in students, we believe physical activity, physical education and sport can and should be used to purposefully and intentionally to improve health and equip young people with the resilience and skills needed to cope with the stresses and strains of modern life.
The Youth Sport Trust’s Head of Wellbeing, Chris Wright, said:
At the Youth Sport Trust we have long been championing the need for schools to support both the wellbeing and the achievement of young people and the recommendations of the Health Select Committee bear that out. Getting the balance right between those subjects upon which schools are measured academically and those subjects such as physical education that develop broader wellbeing and character traits is critical to developing healthy, socially mobile citizens of the future.
We have been developing a number of PE and sport interventions that are having a significant impact on the declining physical and emotional wellbeing of young people: being active can be the best medicine, and is the catalyst for people coming together socially and emotionally. We will continue to push for changes in policy and practice which to look at both physical and emotional wellbeing together.
Physical education, as a curriculum subject, is very well positioned to be used as a tool for schools to address wellbeing issues. We know that where the subject is being used to drive wellbeing rather than simply improving sport skills we are having a profound impact on young peoples’ wellbeing and achievement. We will continue to advocate and innovate in this area and secure the future of the subject in education and health priorities.”
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