On average, three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition. The Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland states that ‘mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing are essential for successful learning’, and it is clear that if pupils are struggling with their emotions, their ability to learn suffers, creating an attainment gap.
Quarriers is taking steps to reduce this gap through pioneering mental health support for children. We are unique in providing specialist mental health support in primary schools in Scotland, with the long-term aim of removing the taboo of speaking about mental health and helping to end stigma.
Our Let’s Talk and Opt-In Services work with pupils, teachers and parents/carers to ensure that the whole learning community feels confident in responding to the needs of children dealing with mental health issues.
Let’s Talk works with 20 primary schools throughout Glasgow and North Ayrshire, with Opt-In and Opt-In Early Years providing support at 30 primary schools and six high schools in Glasgow. We work with each school to develop bespoke support packages comprising a mixture of one-to-one, group work and classroom style interventions. Let’s Talk developed an educational pack with pupils who helped to shape meaningful resources and contributed original artwork. The resources are available both as a pack and through Quarriers website.
We also provide support for pupils to ease the transition from primary to secondary school, with dedicated support sessions and summer activity programmes helping to build confidence and make new friends.
In 2018, Quarriers established its Borders Resilience for Wellbeing Service. Borders is the first local authority in Scotland to adopt an authority-wide approach in promoting emotional wellbeing, and Quarriers is working closely with the local authority to empower young people to take ownership of their emotional health.
The importance of mental health support cannot be overstated. By starting conversations about mental health at an early age, we can help to build mentally healthy communities which support young people to achieve their goals, both in and outwith education.