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A Q&A with mental health and wellbeing experts Kooth

A Q&A with mental health and wellbeing experts Kooth

Published 11 May 2021

We sit down with mental health and wellbeing experts Kooth to find out how young people can use the range of articles, activities and resources within eduu.school to support their mental health.

 

Who is Kooth?

Kooth is a fully safeguarded and pre-moderated online community supporting children and young people with their mental wellbeing. The service, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, is free and anonymous and offers a library of peer and professional created content. We also offer access to experienced online mental health practitioners who have a range of backgrounds including counselling, social work, teaching and healthcare. There are no thresholds for support and no waiting lists. Currently, Kooth sees around 4,000 logins a day and is available to more than 7.8 million children and young people.

 

How can Kooth resources via eduu.school be used to support teaching and learning in secondary schools?

Kooth has a range of articles, activities and resources that can support many areas of the curriculum.

Like you, we encourage young people to be independent thinkers and explore many different themes in our online materials. Our resources may complement your teaching materials by encouraging discussion, thinking about topics differently and validating and exploring feelings and issues that may affect your students academically, socially and emotionally.

 

How and why did Kooth get involved in eduu.school?

We have always believed that mental wellbeing should be deeply integrated within education. What eduu.school is doing represents a huge leap forward in recognising just how critical this is to students’ school experience.

We welcome the opportunity to work with the team at eduu.school to make this holistic learning a reality. Weaving mental wellbeing throughout the curriculum will help end the shame and stigma associated with talking about mental health issues, enabling honest conversation and support. This early education is crucially important not only in learning at school, but in helping people understand and manage their wellbeing throughout their lives. 

 

Looking ahead, what role can eduu.school play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people? 

Schools are an ideal environment to support student wellbeing and mental health. School is often a safe, consistent place for young people to feel listened to, and protected. And educators can often provide early intervention, early detection and most importantly awareness and education around mental health issues, ways to cope and where to find support.

 

How can students use Kooth within eduu.school to support their mental health? Or If a teacher notices that a student is struggling with their mental health, how can teachers use eduu.school to support them?

Students will have access to various Kooth content via their curriculum but they can also sign up to Kooth to access more content through our online magazine. As well as this, they can access support including chat and messaging with Kooth staff, live forums on various topics, discussion boards where young people may be able to get some peer support and also our Kooth activity hub, which has a wide range of step-by-step activities that have been specially designed to help young people manage difficult feelings.

eduu.school and Kooth partnership

 

What’s the best way that a teacher can help a student that’s struggling with their mental health? 

It can be really daunting to support someone with their mental health. And it’s very normal to be concerned about saying or doing the wrong thing. Here’s a few things to consider:

Listen: Sometimes just listening to somebody is enough to make a real difference. Don’t underestimate the value of a 10 minute chat after lessons or break times.

Be honest: You don’t have to have all the answers. And it’s ok to be honest about that with your students. If there’s something you’re unsure about, seeking support is always advisable.

Pass on concerns: Supporting someone with their mental health can be difficult and if you have any concerns about their safety or wellbeing, they should be passed on to your designated safeguarding lead. 

Reach out: Supporting someone emotionally can affect you too. Having the support from people at work can be just as essential for your own wellbeing as well as being best practice for supporting students with mental health difficulties.

Recommend: Signposting your young people to services such as Kooth can be really helpful as it ensures professional help for your students that works alongside what you’re already doing to support them. Kooth works with other professionals by also helping young people to engage with the support available to them in other areas, such as school and educational settings.

 

How does teaching wellbeing as part of the curriculum help to support students in the future? 

Good mental wellbeing enables students to do well academically, emotionally and socially. Teaching good mental wellbeing paves the way for students to be successful in all aspects of their life and to be able to cope better when things are difficult.

Exploring good mental wellbeing as part of your curriculum makes future success much more than just academic achievement and could make a real impact on someone’s life during their school years and beyond.

 

How can teachers help students open up about their mental health? Are there ways to do this within eduu.school?

By normalising mental health issues. Introducing topics in the classroom with empathy and honesty and encouraging discussion amongst students may encourage those who want to open up do just that.

Supporting a child's pathway to be aware, understand and accept that it is okay to talk or at least seek support with their mental health is a huge step in their development. Some children will not want to discuss or open up about certain issues that they may be experiencing. This is where Kooth can provide the link to anonymous support. 

Sometimes there are barriers for young people when disclosing information to school staff. Some young people worry that what they say will be passed on and reported to people at home or elsewhere. By signposting them to an anonymous service such as Kooth, they can be supported whatever risk they present, confidentially and anonymously. This is often incredibly empowering for young people. They are then able to talk freely about their issues, without the fear of consequences beyond their control. Signposting to Kooth empowers young people to take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing at their own pace.

 

How does Kooth view the future of education with regards to wellbeing and mental health discussion in the classroom? 

As mental health professionals, we believe that when we take care of young people’s emotional health, they are also in a better position to learn and fulfil their potential in other areas.

When young people’s emotional needs are not met, they understandably have barriers to learning. As a partnership, we can work together to facilitate positive wellbeing and healthy and open discussions about mental health in the classroom and beyond.