Scunthorpe MP calls for mindfulness lessons to improve children’s mental health

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Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin has suggested that mindfulness should be taught to children in schools in a bid to prevent them from suffering from mental health problems.

The MP held a debate in Parliament on Tuesday, September 6, calling for teachers to be allowed to do more to improve pupils’ mental wellbeing in schools.

Mindfulness is a mental state where people focus more on the present moment, in particular on their own thoughts and feelings and the world around them.

Supporters claim that it improves mental wellbeing and can be used as a therapeutic technique for a variety of mental health conditions.

Dakin pointed to evidence that nearly one third of 15-25 year olds suffer from mental health difficulties and that use of anti-depressants among adults has risen by 5000% in the last two decades as evidence of the seriousness of the issue.

Speaking during the debate, the Labour MP said: “Emphasis on attainment and educational standards is of course vital.

“But in a changing social climate of complex pressures and spiralling mental ill-health among young people, it is no longer quite enough.

Many factors have been suggested as explanations of the apparently massive increase in mental ill-health among the young, including family breakdown, school-related stress, bullying, cyber-bullying, information overload, watching too much TV and digital technology rewiring our very brains.

“After hearing different cases of mindfulness being successful, and having experienced a mindfulness course myself, I believe that it should be taught in schools.

“If teachers can go through a course of teaching mindfulness then hopefully they can pass this on to their pupils, and in turn improve their mental health.

“By improving people’s mental health when they are children, it is likely to reduce the potential of them having mental health issues when they are older.”

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