MindEducation is a generic term for school and community based emotional wellbeing and mental health literacy programmes. The purpose of The MindEd Trust is to promote and assist in the creation of mindEducation programmes within all educational establishments.
Following extensive research and consultation, The Trust believes that, in order to both eradicate stigma and develop effective in-school and community mental health programmes, every youth and young adult organisation needs to initiate a mindEducation “journey”. Stigma will only be destroyed via inclusive programmes which embrace all stakeholders, including not just young people, but teachers, parents, health professionals and managers. It is only by talking openly and widely about mental health that we will effect a long overdue paradigm shift in mental health perception and a change in social values.
Every school and youth organisation is different. With 75% of all mental illness pre-dating higher education and less than 10% of all current mental health funding directed to this demographic, there is a desperate need to improve mental health literacy and resilience in every educational establishment. However, there are no “quick fixes” and “one size fits all” solutions. In order to be effective, a mindEducation programme has to be multi-faceted and deeply embedded into the practice and consciousness of an organisation. At the same time, programmes have to be customised and focused on the specific needs, characteristics and resources of each participating organisation from primary education through to higher education and beyond.
Through the application of experience, expertise and funding, The MindEd Trust will assist all schools and colleges in the formulation and application of comprehensive and sustainable emotional intelligence and wellbeing programmes. This is achieved via phased consultation and the importation of knowledge, expertise and resources from across the full spectrum of public healthcare, academia, charitable bodies, counselling services, training initiatives and mental health resources, both physical and digital.
Most schools and colleges are only too well aware of the mounting problem of youth psychosis and its growing negative impact on learning, outcomes and communities. The MindEd Trust works closely with all organisations in constructing programmes to tackle this problem head-on.
Whilst the Trust has a national and international profile and reach, particular attention is being directed to schools and colleges in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire in the UK with a view to establishing best practice locally which is rapidly recognised and transposed to the national policy agenda.
The MindEd Manifesto
Despite considerable and welcome recent progress, the current state of mental health education and mental healthcare in the UK is a disgrace and an indictment on our society. The MindEd Trust is unapologetic in its fervent drive for ongoing, far-reaching and urgent reform.
The MindEd Manifesto may be summarised as follows:
To create a paradigm shift in mental health education and illness prevention for young people, we seek:
- Parity of esteem for mental illness to be matched by parity of care and parity of funding.
- The formal and wholesale introduction of emotional resilience and mental health literacy programmes into the entire education system, supported by the complete integration of wellbeing into the Ofsted process which is revised to place equal emphasis on personal health and not just academic excellence.
- The creation of a care system which places equal emphasis on psychosis prevention as well as treatment. Prevention must be better than cure whilst current treatment systems remain totally unacceptable despite recent advances via IAPT and CAMHS.
- A fundamental review and realignment of medical research funding in order to dramatically enhance our understanding of juvenile neurosis and psychosis causation.
- The refocus of mental health funding from adults to young people since 75% of mental trauma pre-dates higher education. Current funding is absurdly misaligned. Save young people and we protect future generations.
- The complete reformulation of the current risk assessment and triage models deployed by the NHS which are ambiguous and wholly inadequate, especially with regard to high functioning individuals without previous trauma history.
- A re-examination of the balance between localism and centrism in mental health care. National standards are required to mitigate locational imbalance, sector fragmentation and the “postcode lottery.”
- The creation of a viable framework for the care and support of bereaved persons and those caring for people in mental trauma in order to obfuscate the cataclysmic impact and concomitant loss to society and the economy of trauma and tragedy on families and communities.
Specific and far-reaching measures are required to achieve this paradigm shift which might include:
- The creation and appointment of a Minister for Mental Health in all political parties.
- The Department of Health and the Department of Education to appoint properly funded and deeply resourced mental health functions and secretariats with executive authority.
- The dramatic acceleration of the drive towards creating national treatment standards and waiting time limits, mirroring advancements in physical health.
- No school is to be accorded “good” or “outstanding” Ofsted status without a comprehensive and accredited mental and emotional education and stewardship profile.
MindEd Trust contribution to a recent Parliamentary Roundtable on Mental Health:
“The NHS is only really capable of dealing with people in crisis and this they are struggling with badly owing to burgeoning demand, cost constraints and under resourcing. In many Trusts, the barriers to entry are increasing, GP referrals are being refused and clinicians are being forced to raise the severity levels at which treatment can be offered in the face of static or reducing resources and rising demand. You have to be ever more ill to secure treatment which itself is beset by unacceptable waiting lists and limited care pathways under the IAPT/CAMHS programme. The situation is thus worsening rather than improving.
With people in crisis, not only are individuals impaired, but so too are their families and communities, sometimes for years. The road to recovery from crisis is long, very expensive and typically exhibits a high probability of recurrence. The political, economic and social cost is enormous, to say nothing of the loss to society inherent in multiple impaired life paths, loss of economic contribution and the increased burden on social support systems.
This is especially relevant for young people with rest-of-life potential post trauma. With 75% of psychosis pre-dating higher education, it makes economic, moral and political sense to focus more resources on prevention in the young population. Better education and improved community level mental health literacy, together with stronger, community based early interventions, bringing together presently fragmented programmes, organisations and islands of best practice, will reduce the numbers reaching crisis.
Put simply, we should be aiming to give the NHS less to do. Save one person from crisis and we save fortunes in expensive and challenging treatments. We also save dozens of others from anguish and torment. Moreover, prevention will lead to happier and healthier communities which are better able to progress to make a full economic and social contribution, thereby further reducing dependency on welfare based funding. Wellbeing and resilience education (for young people, teachers, care workers, GPs and parents) has a very low per capita cost profile if properly embedded in the education and community environment. On economic, social and fiscal measures, the case for an increased focus on prevention is incontrovertible.
The government has committed to increased treatment funding via the NHS. If we can reduce the demand for NHS services at the same time via prevention, we can create a virtuous cycle of reduced demand and better provision. Only in this way can we ever hope to bridge the gaping and current disparity between rising demand for care and a woefully inadequate treatment system. We will also save tens of thousands from a thoroughly miserable life.”