Should Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategies be Mandatory in Education?

At an internal CPD event I recently presented our research results on the success of
integrating the SEJ into the Professional and Academic Skills module as an intervention to
support student’s transition to HEI.
Part of this successful result was because it was a mandatory participation in the module for
students; it was not because of the need to address their state of mental health. Rather it
was to acquire a lifelong transferrable skill which they can take beyond their university life
into employment.
We all have mental health, we might be fine today, so we don’t think the SEJ is for us, but
what about tomorrow when something ‘goes wrong’? A key point is that the SEJ can be used
by anyone in any area of life as we all need to care for our mental health. In the SEJ training
it is taught that anyone who thinks, can use this process, as it helps us address all our
thoughts and beliefs. Therefore, the SEJ process is for everyone, and for every thought that
disempowers us.
There is ‘pandemic’ of mental health illness amongst young people. According to the NHS
website, with CBT or talking therapies, it is usually offered in 12-20 sessions whilst HEIs can
only offer at most 6 sessions of service available to them, which is barely half of the
recommended time and is wholly inadequate in severe cases. There is also a very long
waiting list that can be over several months and for some this is too late…
It is vitally important to make the SEJ mandatory as students, until they learn the SEJ, don’t
realise that mental health is not just about having mental health issues. One of the benefits
of embedding the SEJ into the skills’ module was that it was accessible to ALL students. They
found that once they were introduced to the SEJ as a tool and realised how beneficial it was
then it was easy to get them to ‘buy in’ in terms of engagement and participation.
This easy-to-use process not only proactively prevents mental health issues from
developing, or increasing in severity, but moreover is proven to completely restore positive
mental health thereby enabling the individual to reach their full potential.
If we are going to empower these young vulnerable people at the most formative years of
their life, surely the time is now to educate and empower them by providing a simple and
effective process they can use for the rest of their lives.

Dr M Howard-Kishi

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